Derek W. Engdahl explores a theology of economic disparity in his new book, The Great Chasm: How To Stop Our Wealth from Separating Us from the Poor and God.
Sometimes, it is difficult to see our own wealth, let alone the effects that it has on our social and spiritual relationships. Even being lower middle class in America puts one in the top 1% of the global economy. The lives of many people around the world are so far removed from our own that it is no wonder Christ’s parable in Luke 16 describes a ‘great chasm’ between the beggar Lazarus and the rich man.
In his insightful book, The Great Chasm: How to Stop Our Wealth from Separating Us from the Poor and God, Derek W. Engdahl writes about that gap with the grace and authority of one who has put in the time and energy — and risked the awkwardness — involved in crossing it.
He has traveled and worked extensively in the slums with our Servant Partners field teams, and he has lived with his family for more than a decade in the economically challenged Los Angeles County city of Pomona.
Derek’s heart for our neighbors in poverty is evident in his thoughtful prose. He writes: “Most of us do not have deep relationships with people outside our social class. And sadly, the church has almost nothing to say about this…. I am not convinced that the whole gospel is being proclaimed weekly." Derek challenges us all to fill that gap in the gospel through our own speech and action toward the poor.
Scott Bessenecker, Associate Director of Missions for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and author of The New Friars, wrote: “Walking with Derek alongside the prodigal son and his family, or the rich man and Lazarus, we are given lucid prose to see afresh how these critical stories relate to our world today. The Great Chasm is a work which will help close today’s chasm between rich and poor.”
We are already beginning to see this effect ripple throughout our growing reader base, generating discussions in churches, among friends, and online. Please visit our Great Chasm page to see if you might be interested in joining this discussion and call.