I am grateful to Bishop Bill Lewis for his gracious review of my book Thirty Days with E. Stanley Jones and for sharing Jones’ impact on his own life:
“It was an honor to be invited to write a few words of commendation for Jack Harnish’s new book: “Thirty Days with E. Stanley Jones. ” Janet and I began our life’s journey together reading and sharing THE WAY (by E. Stanley Jones). We became admirers and followers of this great missionary’s career. The Journey began for us as young lovers in 1950. 72 years later Janet was recommending Jones’s book to a gathering of spouses of United Methodist Bishops. Eunice Mathews spoke up and said, “I typed every word of that book.” Janet and I had become friends of Jim and Eunice Mathews since my election to the episcopacy in 1988 but it wasn’t until that moment that Janet realized that Eunice was the daughter of E. Stanley Jones.
Jack’s excellent little work consists of an imaginative series of devotional meditations, each of them a daily snapshot of the man and his message. They are so well-written one feels compelled to read ahead of schedule. Why wait for more of such a compelling story?
I think it highly appropriate that Asbury University considers E. Stanley Jones as its preeminent alum. In a real sense Jones’s life and work belongs to the whole world and to the church universal. He loved and lifted people who were different than himself. He was a powerful witness for the ecumenical movement and the inclusive communities of faith. The chapters about the meaning of the word “all” and the dream of a federated Christian Church highlight these emphases. His ability to enter into conversation with all kinds of cultures and religions without a trace of ideological or spiritual superiority was a powerful witness to his “arms around the world” outlook and “Way” on the road of life.
The current role of some Asbury graduates in the crusade for disaffiliation and division is an anomaly. I’m sure this was somewhere in the back of Jack’s mind as he wrote about the ministry of this great man who embraced the world in lovingkindness.
As at the dawn of creation the Lord looked upon all that was made and called it “good,” E. Stanley Jones was never frightened by diversity but saw it in its kaleidoscopic wonder as the work of the Great God Almighty who was in Jesus. Indeed, “Jesus is Lord.”
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