The Sacred Overlap

The cultural, religious, political, relational, and familial divides are growing stronger; the arguments are becoming more explosive; and the defending of our opinions is growing more and more intense. Even a global pandemic, which had the potential to unite us and draw us together, has driven us further apart. If there is ever a time for the church to see a crucial opportunity to bring hope to our current context, this is it. The widening of extremes provides the church a fertile opportunity to live in the midst of the tension, to live in radical love and faithfulness between the extremes.

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The widening of political, racial, generational, and religious differences often leads to an “us vs. them” mentality all too common today. In The Sacred Overlap, author J.R. Briggs communicates a refreshing vision that embraces tension and calls us to live in radical love and faithfulness between the extremes that isolate and divide people.

Read the gospels and you’ll see how Jesus was committed to crossing cultural, social, political, and religious either/or waters, engaging in many and/also activities. He comforted the disturbed and also disturbed the comfortable. He was too religious for the pagans and also too pagan for the religious elites. He hung out with filthy lepers and also dined with the filthy rich. He was alarming and disarming at the same time.

This is not a spineless embrace of religious syncretism where we take bits from world religions, personal preferences, and ideologies and throw them into a cosmic blender for a tasty theological smoothie. Instead, Briggs offers a fresh understanding of evangelism and discipleship, showing how we need to be engaged in both of these at the same time. He shares creative ways to engage with God’s mission with those who are intrigued about Jesus but turned off by church. He explores what it means to be joyful in the midst of heart-wrenching pain and suffering in the world. And he models what it means to maintain a posture of convicted civility which emphasizes equally both grace and truth.

The Sacred Overlap helps readers see that Christians are called to live with their feet firmly planted in two different worlds–in both heaven and earth–living naturally with grace and truth. Only then can a Christian be a faithful witness in the way of Jesus.

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