Who needs to read Think Red?
I believe everyone who follows Jesus and shares his passion for the Church will enjoy reading Think Red. However, when I wrote the book I kept thinking about Christians, like myself, who are frustrated and bored with the status quo of consumer–based religion. There are a lot of church leaders, young and old alike, who are looking for a way to break down the old restrictive paradigms of church growth and create new expressions of Christ–like community.
Think Red has a variety of anecdotal stories . . . is there one story you enjoy telling more than others?
The context of our story is Louisville, Kentucky—the home of horse races and bourbon. I heard a news reporter ask our Mayor once which bourbon he liked best. (In our town that is a politically loaded question.) He responded like a good politician, “My favorite bourbon is the one in my hand.” That’s the way I feel about the stories I tell—The one I’m telling at the moment is always my favorite! But if I were forced to choose one story over all the others, it’s the story I tell in the introduction about the rose I discovered at the corner of 18th and Baird Street. That story sets the tone for the rest of the book.
I hope people enjoy reading the stories in Think Red as much as I enjoy telling them. But more importantly, I hope the stories inspire others to create whimsical Jesus stories of their own.
Think Red is an intriguing title; can you tell me what it means to you and why you chose it as the title of your book?
In some Bibles the words of Jesus are printed in red font. I wanted a title that invited the reader—or better yet, dared the reader—to dream and reimagine what Church might look like if we made the “red letters” of Jesus the primary organizing principle for our communities of faith. The subtitle of the book explains what “thinking red” means to me: Imagine Your Community Living and Loving Like Jesus.
Here’s a snippet from the back cover that invites the reader to Think Red:
Have you ever wondered what the Church would look like if Christians began to take the words of Jesus seriously—the words some Bibles print in red? What if Jesus actually meant for us to do the things he said? What if those who “believe in Jesus” really did value the things he valued? Would the Church look different? Would your neighborhood stay the same?
In Think Red, Larry Stoess takes a close look at the values, the vision, and the mission of Jesus, and then holds up a mirror for us to see if our communities look anything like Jesus. If we dare look in the mirror we may be inspired to leave behind our obsession with consumer–based religion and follow the way of Jesus. Those who do will be set free to imagine creative and whimsical expressions of community.
Tell me about Think Red and why you wrote it?
It would be misleading to say Think Red is a love story but in a way that’s exactly what the book is about. It’s a story about love: God’s love for the world, the love Jesus expressed in the words he spoke and the way he loved people—especially those who were overlooked and pushed to the margins of society. It’s a story about God’s love for the poor and God’s passion for justice and mercy. I wrote the book hoping those of us who call ourselves Christians would fall in love with Jesus all over again and recommit ourselves to creating faith communities that actually love people the way he loves us.
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Larry Stoess is an author, public speaker, and urban church planter. He loves telling stories about how dreaming with God will empower people to make old and broken things new again. Larry and a band of friends founded the Church of the Promise in Louisville's Portland neighborhood; The Table, a pay-what-you-can community café; and Promise Housing Plus, a non-profit construction company. He has written about their experience of dreaming with God in his new book: Think Red.