The book Crabgrass and Oak Trees asks the question, "Is the Church more like Crabgrass, or an Oak Tree?" exploring popular conceptions with biblical reality into what the Church really is. It encourages readers to stretch their imaginations and embrace biblical truths as the writers use real life anecdotes and scripture to draw a beautiful image of the church in the form of crabgrass.
I have to admit, when I first read the title I was quick to take the side of the oak tree. It's very image invokes ideas of strength and stature. I have long envisioned a church as being one that is proudly erected on a hilltop, towering above the town it inhabits, and a noted feature of its surrounding landscape. After just reading a few short pages I realized my folly and the writers struck a deep chord within me that has always longed for a far more deeper and profound experience of Church. One that speaks of community and a vision that far exceeds the walls of any one building.
The content of the book flows well and naturally evolves as the reader is taken deeper and deeper into what Church really means for the Christian. It is a refreshing source of encouragement and inspiration for those who have struggled inwardly with the true definition of the Church. Quickly discarded is the image of the oak tree as the crabgrass is explained. Local churches, existing to glorify God and not themselves are to function as like a node (connection point) on a blade of crabgrass, interconnected with the rest of the body of Christ, receiving nourishment from other nodes and, in turn, nourishing other nodes, spurring on growth and vitality in a vast network of believers. Such a network, using the illustration of crabgrass, is known as a rhizome. Each blade, interconnected with every other blade, is wholly dependent on Christ. Together, embracing one another's diversity and growing spiritual roots that are deep, the church spreads itself in the form of love over expansive areas.
The writers describe the growth of the church this way:
When Crabgrass is introduced to an area where it has never been, it takes over. We should do the same. Not a hostile takeover, not by cramming our religion down someone's throat, but by simply being. By allowing the nutrients of our King to flow through our body and infect the soil around us until it begins springing forth with life from within. Jesus said He reconciles to Himself all things, and as we are introduced to a new community, a new soil, He begins this process. Reconciling, bringing, drawing Himself to Himself.
The authors express the beauty of the rhizome as functioning this way: "It causes us to love Christ, because it allows us to see Christ." When, as a body of Christ, we start stepping past our comfort zones, seeking God's glory for God's glory alone and are inspired to be like the great men and women of scripture that God provides us as examples, we truly begin to manifest God's Kingdom here on earth.
This book would be a benefit and blessing for any member of the Body, whether leader or layman, to read. You can check out the third chapter free here: http://rhizomepublishing.com/free-chapter/ Keep an eye out, for in the near future I will be having the opportunity to interview one of the authors! I look forward to sharing that interview with the rest of you! If you have any questions you think you'd like to ask the author, ask them in the comments section below. I'll choose the best ones to include in my interview!