Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel is a beautiful pastoral vision of the Church catholic that draws upon the work of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, and combines Francis' own experiences in order to offer a vision of hope for the Church in dangerous times.
As Christians have done for millennia, the faithful today must live the Gospel always, everywhere, and radically. They must rely on the grace of God and relentlessly and sacrificially love with the love of God made known in Christ.
It's that incarnational love of the Other, according to Francis, that will carry the Light of God that is the Church into the dark corners of the world.
Francis points out the spiritually dangerous temptation of lukewarm Christian spiritualities that seek only an individual's salvation. Such spiritualities result in the closed-in attitudes of many Christians, which in turn underwrite "selfishness and spiritual sloth", "sterile pessimism", and "spiritual worldliness" (pages 81-97).
Poor faith formation, inadequate youth ministry, the paucity of women ministries -- all those common church problems are a result, Francis rightly insists.
I fear this is a book so many Protestant pastors will overlook precisely because its primary audience is Catholic. But it deserves a wife reading for the pastoral and theological wisdom here. My spiritual life was emboldened by it.
I received this book free, from the Blogging for Books program, in exchange for my honest review.