Skin on Skin helps Christians develop an authentic, satisfying faith centered on helping those in need.
Every five hundred years or so, the ground trembles and change electrifies the air--because CHANGE is needed.
 
Globalization and dramatic technological advances are only part of this massive change. We are in a major SOCIAL SHIFT, as well, that includes the rethinking and reconfiguration of CHRISTIANITY.
Christians searching for a more relevant and meaningful way to live their faith are becoming the hands and feet of Jesus. They are open to the needs of the marginalized, redefining what it means to be Christian.
This EMERGENCE is leading people to take political action, fueled by their Christian values, for the common good. They are also developing transformational relationships with those who are experiencing poverty.
They have come to realize that CHRISTIANITY is a WAY OF LIFE. In fact, early followers called the compassionate, communal and generous life style "the Way."
Author Bio
 
      Jack Bender is the author of Disregarded: Transforming the School and Workplace through Deep Respect and Courage, which encouraged one industry leader to remark that Disregarded was the best book available on structure and agency. In Skin on Skin: Living the Way of Jesus by Walking with the Poor, Bender reads the signs of the times and asks, “What responsibilities do Christians have for those struggling with poverty?”
      Well aware of his own hypocrisy, Jack readily admits that writing Skin on Skin was difficult, “while having a plank in my eye.” We begin where we are and move forward.
      Jack’s career path has included U.S. Army Officer, prison music director, public school teacher,and band director. Other work experiences include certified mediator, future search facilitator, mobile DJ, computer programmer, speaker, and heavy equipment operator.
      Bender is very active musically in church and community and supports the St. Vincent De Paul Center associated with St. Francis De Sales Church in Holland, Michigan. Jack has been married to artist Cindy M. Bender for forty-nine years. They have two adult children and four grandchildren.
      Besides the non-fiction books Skin on Skin and Disregarded, Bender has authored two collections of poetry: Moonflower and Other Poems I Didn’t Write and Three Simple Words and More Poems I Didn’t Write.

Contents

 

Section 1: Poverty............................................................... 1

 

Section 2: Government, Politics, Justice........................... 25

 

Section 3: God................................................................... 45

 

Section 4: Hebrew Bible.................................................... 61

Section 5: Jesus, the Synoptic Gospels.............................. 95

 

Section 6: Christianity...................................................... 125

Section 7: Church, Universal &andLocal......................... 161

 

Section 8: Becoming/Transforming.................................. 173

 

Section 9: Accompaniment............................................... 183

 

Notes.................................................................................. 195

 

Biblical References............................................................ 203

Suggested Reading............................................................ 205

 

Gratitude............................................................................ 207

 

Author Bio......................................................................... 209

There are 79 chapters in Skin on Skin, consisting of 2 or 3 pages each.
Each chapter begins with an epigraph such as
 
"If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead." --William Law
Each chapter has a text box that provides the main idea on which the chapter is based, such as "Early Christianity was called "the Way."
Who: written by a lay member of his church for other lay members
What: Supports a vision of "church" that is oriented to the needs of the marginalized in any community
Why: So that readers can live into a faith that is more relevant and meaningful--one that not only deeply matters to them, but also to those experiencing poverty.
If we want to help change history and promote real
development, we need to hear the cry of the poor and
commit ourselves to ending their marginalization.
           Pope Francis
 
      Repent. What an annoying word. It indicts my lifestyle. It provokes change. It demands a great deal. “Come, follow me” is equally disruptive(Matthew4:19).
      I am a creature of habit, and my habit is to arrange all aspects of my life so that I am comfortable. But now, no matter how much effort I expend, I have become uncomfortable. I know that millions of Americans (130,000,000) experience economic instability. The gap between my comfort and their discomfort is too great for me to ignore. I realize that I must do whatever I can to eliminate poverty. I am open to the possibility of change.
      While many forces oppose my new path, many align with it. The Holy Bible, the life of Jesus, and my Christian tradition all emphasize justice for the marginalized. I need you to journey with me. Alone, I will be drawn back into my old ways. But with a community, I’ll have the support I need. For us to work together, you’ll have to answer the question, “Are you open to the possibility that your life might change?” Are you willing to live into a life filled with deeper meaning?
      Right now, it seems like everything is broken, and in fact, many elements affecting our lives aren’t working as well as they used to. We are on the cusp of great change—Black Lives Matter. Me Too. Healthcare for all. $15 an hour. Racism. Misogyny. Voter suppression. Save the Planet. Possibilities are waiting for changed people to act. Since our old ways are failing us, the way forward will be decidedly different. The good news is that our new lives are likely to be even more enjoyable. Living in new ways will be good for us and the world. God is asking, “Whom shall I send?” We can answer, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah6:8).

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© 2019  Jack H. Bender