Fortress Press

The Deepest Belonging: A Story about Discovering Where God Meets Us

The Deepest Belonging

A Story about Discovering Where God Meets Us

Kara K. Root (Author)


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Where does God meet us in this life? Rooting Christian faith in joy, freedom, and trust that God interacts with us in this life, The Deepest Belonging: A Story of Discovering Where God Meets Us invites readers to walk through surprising doorways--weakness, vulnerability, smallness, rest, and honesty--into a new perspective of the Christian life and the role of the pastor.

Kara Root draws wisdom from three compelling stories, all about finding freedom on the other side of fear. In one thread, Marty, a member of the small congregation Root serves, learns that he is dying. In the second, Root finds that her once-invincible faith of assurance and answers collapses.

These stories come together in a third, when the congregation does a unique and counterintuitive thing: it commissions Marty to a "ministry of dying." By embracing instead of fleeing death, Marty, this community, and Root herself are infused with life through shared experiences of God. They learn to be vulnerable and brave. They discover--again and profoundly--an unguarded faith of wondering and watching for God's presence.

This is a book for all pastors and church leaders, as well as for those disillusioned with Christianity and the church and longing for something more real and honest. It explores questions such as: How does God meet us? What is church for? What is a pastor? What does it mean to be truly human?

The Deepest Belonging is a call not to resist but to embrace our vulnerability. As a move away from religion seeking security, protection, and influence, this story invites individuals and congregations to return bravely to the core of our humanity: our belonging to God and one another.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781506470931
  • eBook ISBN 9781506470955
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 308
  • Publication Date June 1, 2021


"A book to generate the right kind of confidence in the gospel--humble, realistic, celebratory."

Rowan Williams, 104th archbishop of Canterbury, theologian and poet

"The reader will cherish this well-written book and come to discern that the 'old old story' is always yet again becoming our 'new new song.'"

Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Kara Root has an exquisite gift for paying attention and then speaking what she sees, showing us along the way that there is sacrament in the telling of our stories."

Jan Richardson, author of Sparrow: A Book of Life and Death and Life

"This is simply the best book of Christian faith I've read in over a decade."

Mark Yaconelli, executive director of The Hearth, author of The Gift of Hard Things

"Quicksilver smart, deeply honest, and blessed with a gift for language, Root invites us all into a deeper exploration of our faith."

Thomas G. Long, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

"Root's pastoral work shines with integrity and love. I couldn't be more thrilled that she is now offering her wisdom to us all in The Deepest Belonging. This is a real treasure."

Nadia Bolz-Weber, author, Lutheran minister, public theologian

"In reading this book, my own vocation has been renewed, and I am grateful."

Simon Carey Holt, pastor of Collins Street Baptist Church, author of God Next Door: Spirituality and Mission in the Neighbourhood and Heaven All Around Us: Discovering God in Everyday Life

"It is a gift to read the stories of Kara Root and her church, both of whom live and lead with courage and honesty."

Jodi Houge, pastor and church planter, Humble Walk Lutheran Church

"Christians of our generation have been tasked with reviving a dying model of church... Rather than emerging hopeless, Root's work illuminates how the liturgical practices of our faith are not just rituals, they are the means by which we know that Death with a capital D does not have the last word on life."

Mandy Sloan McDow, senior minister, Los Angeles First United Methodist Church

Table of Contents

Chapter One: When We Come Together, God Meets Us
Chapter Two: When We Lose Guarantees . . . 
Chapter Three: When We Pay Attention and Join in . . . 
Chapter Four: In Godforsakenness . . .
Chapter Five: In the In-Between . . .
Chapter Six: When We Stop . . .
Chapter Seven: To Move Us from Fear to Trust . . .
Chapter Eight: That We Might Have Joy. . . 
Chapter Nine: When We Face Death . . .
Chapter Ten: When We Surrender to Our Nothingness . . .
Chapter Eleven: When Grace Tells Our Story . . .
Chapter Twelve: When We Live Now What Will Be . . .
Chapter Thirteen: When We Live With and For Each Other, God Meets Us