Books I’ve Read: Not So Secret

IVP recently asked me to write a commendation for Graham Orr’s excellent new book Not so secret. I was more than happy to do so, and this is what I came up with. If you buy the book, you will discover that the publishers only used one fragment of a sentence from my carefully crafted prose – but hey, it’s a great book!

“Imagine what it is like being a cross-cultural missionary. The embarrassing early days when you are learning the language and can’t work out what it is you want to buy in the shops and you don’t have the words to apologise to your neighbour when your toilet overflows into the flat below. Then later on you have to try and understand how to function as a church in a society with very different social conventions, work patterns and religious background to everything you have ever known before. Then again, perhaps we don’t need to imagine what it is like to physically cross-cultures. There are many cultural difficulties and barriers associated with sharing the gospel in post-Christian Britain, it’s just that they are so familiar, we don’t always recognise them.

In “Not so Secret”, Graham Orr, a long term missionary in Japan shares his experience of making friends, building community and sharing the love of Christ in a situation which is very different to the North of England where he grew up. But this isn’t just another book of encouraging and amusing missionary stories (though it is that). Using his experiences in Japan as a starting point and reflecting Scripture and on time spent as a Church leader in the UK, Orr encourages us to rethink how we can live as missionary Christians in our own culture. This is a challenging, thought provoking and ultimately heart-warming book. There is a lot of talk in missionary circles about being a reflective-practitioner. If you want to know what that means, read this book; you won’t find a many better examples.”