cover image Justice in the Burbs: Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live

Justice in the Burbs: Being the Hands of Jesus Wherever You Live

Lisa Samson, Will Samson, . . Baker Books, $14.99 (204pp) ISBN 978-0-8010-6809-6

Award-winning Christian novelist Lisa Samson (Songbird ; Quaker Summer ) and her husband, sociology doctoral student Will Samson, intertwine fiction and nonfiction in this challenging and inspiring book about justice. Lisa Samson’s novella features the Marshalls, a suburban family with all the accoutrements: Matt climbs the corporate ladder, Christine cares for their three children, and both are busy with numerous church leadership positions. One day, Matt and Christine visit an inner-city mission, and their ideas about how they should be living gradually but dramatically change. The nonfiction portion of the book examines the issues these characters (and most of the book’s readership) face. The Samsons talk about why God cares what we eat, where we live, how much electricity we use and to whom we minister. Astonishingly, the authors manage to do this without hitting a sanctimonious note. On the contrary, they repeatedly highlight the heartbreak and complexity of what they refer to as “thinking and living in keeping with God’s heartbeat of justice” and frequently acknowledge their own struggles and failures. The Samsons include short meditations at the end of each chapter written by a variety of Christian authors, as well as a series of helpful discussion questions at the end. (Aug.)