B&H Publishing, 2017. 203 pp.
Are you a resident or are you a neighbor? Do you merely reside in your community, in your city or your church or are you neighborly? In Mi Casa Uptown, Rich Pérez provides us with a primer, vision and theological framework for loving our city as Christians. Rich does this by sharing with us his experience growing up as a Dominican American in the Washington Heights district of New York City and now pastoring in the same community. As I read this book Rich sounded to me like a modern-day Jeremiah proclaiming to us to sit back, settle in, and live life because we are here until Christ comes back. So take advantage of the time we have to make an impact for Christ.
How can we make an impact for Christ? Rich says “Plant roots, make homes, build families, love neighbors, trust Jesus, and die well. In other words, vision, commitment, relationships, faith, and legacy will be our biggest players in helping reshape the story told by our cities and neighborhoods.”
Rich challenges us to be hospitable and love like Christ. How did Christ love? While we were yet sinners Christ died for us, his enemies, so as Christ followers, we should love the stranger, the immigrant, the indifferent and our enemies. Rich challenges us to have the mind of Christ and think of others more highly than ourselves.
Benefit for Pastoral Ministry
Mi Casa Uptown is beneficial to pastoral ministry on a few fronts. First, it provides an incarnational look at how we can love our city. You may not live in the NYC, but you do live in a community and your community has its own set of challenges. Pastors and leaders can take the governing principles of Mi Casa Uptown and contextualize them to their communities.
Another benefit—and what this book has done for me—is it rejuvenates the soul, reminding me of the mission of the church: love God and love people. Sometimes we need a good reminder, something to refocus our minds on the mission of the church. Mi Casa Uptown would be an excellent resource to add to your library to rejuvenate your soul.
Last but certainly not least, I would like to challenge you to skim over your library. How many of your books were written by a Dominican American? My guess is not very many. Mi Casa Uptown is a window into the soul of someone with a different life experience than many American pastors. Rich Pérez is open and honest about his love for the city, his love for Jesus but also what it’s like for someone to be American and Dominican and this my friend is valuable to anyone in pastoral ministry.
Essential — Recommended — Helpful — Pass It By