Sitting with those who sit Alone
Getting alongside the vulnerable and disenfranchised, the difficult and the distant is not an easy task. Mick Duncan, having faced difficult transitions in his own life, was drawn to work in the slums of Manila where he worked alongside people in the poorest communities as they rediscovered a sense of confidence and place and was deeply challenged about how this role might be applied in a western context back home in his native New Zealand, in Australia, the US or the UK?
Not everyone is called to live among the poor in the worst neighbourhoods but the reality is there are vulnerable and broken people in every neighbourhood, whether they are wealthy or poor or in our professional, social, church or family worlds. It might be the work colleague everyone else ignores, the shut-in old lady at the end of the street or an uncle or aunty shamed or shunned by their extended family. They may need friends, mentors, counsellors and other professionals to help them work through their issues but they also need an alongsider.
The alongsider is more than a friend but less than a professional; someone who will take the time to hear their story without making surface judgements, someone they can learn to trust and walk with as they begin to re-engage and rediscover their sense of inner worth. So what does it mean to walk with people who have been rejected by others, who are considered outsiders or unlovely? How can you stay the distance and make a difference with such people as they look for a way forward? Alongsiders explores what it means to enter into and negotiate these difficult but rewarding and restorative relationships.
“Mick takes us on an adventure in this book, reminding us of the ministry of Jesus to the least, last and forgotten members of society. His insightful commentary keeps you turning the pages as you journey with him though up and downs. The challenge laid down to us all is to live out the gospel message through our actions and ‘way’ of being. I think this book has a prophetic message for the church today. Sell your shirt and buy it!”
– Mark Melluish Regional Director New Wine, UK
Author: Mick Duncan
ISBN: 9780987099457 (Paperback)