Servant Partners Press Inaugural Publication Offers Critical Insight on Connecting with the Poor and God in a Society of Wealth
Servant Partners Press author Derek W. Engdahl explores the deep divide between the life experiences of the extremely poor and the relatively wealthy, and reveals the critical spiritual importance of crossing that divide now.
Derek W. Engdahl’s book, The Great Chasm: How to Stop Our Wealth from Separating Us from the Poor and God, invites us to consider the implications of wealth and poverty in our relationships to our local and global neighbors, as well as their relationship to God.
The text of Luke 15 through Luke 16 provides the map for Derek’s tour through the upper-middle-class communities of the United States, the slums that sprawl outside of so many major cities around the world, and everything in between. The book challenges its readers to examine how these dynamics affect their own relationships as well.
Born into a middle-class family in California, Engdahl never considered himself wealthy until he lived with a family in the slums outside of Manila. Their hospitality, and the genuine friendship that developed with them, radically shook his perceptions of the poor, and demanded that he re-think his own lifestyle.
The Great Chasm is also anchored in Derek’s own extensive experience both as a resident of a blighted suburb of Los Angeles, and as one of the General Directors of Servant Partners, a global nonprofit that sends dedicated staff to dwell in and empower poor neighborhoods by developing church-based community centers.
This 264-page book is written to provide a thorough yet easy-to-read reflection on the spiritual issues of wealth and poverty. It is a valuable thought-guide to those considering these issues for the first time, as well as those who are reflecting on their own work or ministry among the poor.
It is the inaugural release of Servant Partners Press, a new initiative of Servant Partners.
Praise for The Great Chasm: How to Stop Our Wealth from Separating us from the Poor an God and Author Derek W. Engdahl:
“The Great Chasm has dressed up Lazarus and the rich man in 21st century clothing. In doing so, this book has uncovered something of our own poverty. After years of sojourning with those on the margins Derek Engdahl has earned the right to do some exegesis from the edges. He tells stories from his experiences in a way that brings Luke’s manuscript into focus. 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.”
Scott Bessenecker, Associate Director of Missions for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and author of The New Friars: The Emerging Movement Serving the World's Poor
“Great books aren't merely written by authors but written into the hearts and souls of the people authoring them. Derek Engdahl is a great author and The Great Chasm is a great book—not only because of what Derek illuminates about the Gospel of Luke, but how these truths are embodied and reflected in the way Derek lives, loves, and services the world. You can trust that as you flip through these pages, a holy imagination emerges from the credibility of a life well-lived. That's what gives The Great Chasm such authenticity to speak to such deep and rich spiritual truths.”
Christopher L. Heuertz, co-founder of Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism and author of Unexpected Gifts: Discovering the Way of Community
“Engdahl challenges our lives of comfort by drawing on the scriptures that likewise challenge our comfortable lifestyles. Integrating many compelling stories, he calls us to take wealth and poverty seriously, just as the Bible does. If you desire to see the gospel lived out and the chasm between rich and poor bridged, read this book.”
Jude Tiersma Watson, Associate Professor of Urban Mission in Fuller Seminary’s School of Intercultural Studies. She lives in a struggling immigrant neighborhood in Los Angeles as a member of InnerChange/Christian Resource Ministries.
About the Author:
Derek W. Engdahl is a General Director of Servant Partners. Since 1998, he has lived in an impoverished community in Pomona, California with his wife, Lisa, and their daughter, Natalia. Derek and his family have worked to build relationships with their neighbors and have sought local and citywide changes that benefit the poor.
In addition to overseeing the mission of Servant Partners and supervising many of Servant Partners’ international field sites, Derek continues to work locally with the Inland Community Organizing Network and OneLA (both broad-based organizing networks within the Greater Los Angeles area), neighborhood Bible studies, and his local church, where he serves as an elder and teacher. He was a contributing author for the book Living Mission: The Vision and Voices of New Friars.