reading about social networks

I have lots of reading that I don some of is work, some of it fun. What I classify as ‘work’ reading is that which I should read to better prepare me for my calling. These books often find their way onto this blog and into the hands of those with whom I partner and mentor. True, the work often becomes fun, if it is what I classify as a good read and I truly enjoy reading. This book, I read because I want to, not because I should (as differentiated over and against that which one has to read if in a required course). I am reading such a book.
The Rise of Christianity by R. Stark is such a book.
I think the reason I am enjoying it so much is that he is analyzing the early church and the wealth of data and literature we have about it using modern social science methods. In this he is talking on the usual scholarship on the subject in a different way than the usual “these heathens are tools of the enemy” (they very well may be, but lots of people have done that.
The other reason I am enjoying it (much like I did The Reason for God by T. Keller, is that it is affirming that which I have thought and taught for years. (It’s nice to feel affirmed.) Like this quote:
“The basis for successful conversionist movements is growth through social networks, through a structure of direct and intimate interpersonal attachments.” (p.20)
Now this was written at the end of the last century so he was not talking about Fb. The word intimate let’s Fb out because this kind of “intimae interpersonal attachments” are done while lingering over coffee and engaging in a real conversation in which probing questions dive deeper that perhaps one wishes.
I do have three (or four) books I’m working through that I may report on here as well.
Are you allowing yourself to really engage in these probing conversations? Do you even know how?
Please contemplate this…

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