I really wanted to like this book; I even quoted a couple of passages from it in blog posts a few days back. However, I found it really difficult to maintain my initial enthusiasm. From Times Square to Timbuktu, starts well but, like so much of the ecumenical conversation that it promotes, it descends into multiple journey and pilgrimage metaphors which don’t seem to lead anywhere.
While I applaud the author’s concern about the fractured nature of Christianity both in the west and the wider world, I am not sure that he brings anything concrete by way of solutions. Indeed, it seems to me that he avoids the hard questions of theology and practice which lie at the heart of the major divisions between the historic churches.
To make things worse, the prose is rather turgid and what could and should be a fascinating subject turns into a rather difficult read. Thankfully it is a rather short book, because if it had been fifty pages longer, I’d never have finished it.
As you will have gathered, I’m not going to recommend that you buy this book. If you want to know about the growth of the Church worldwide, there are more informative and more interesting books out there. If you have read Kingdom Without Borders: The Untold Story of Global Christianity, Whose Religion Is Christianity?: The Gospel beyond the West and The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Future of Christianity Trilogy) then you might give Times Square to Timbuktu a go. Even then, you might want to read my essay on Reading the Bible with the Global Church with responses by scholars from around the world which has the great advantage of being free as well as informative!