Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Shaping of Things To Come

Type your way as fast as you can and order this book "The Shaping of Things To Come":
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1565636597/104-1049996-2712733?v=glance&n=283155

For a good synopsis, also go to this link
http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/13087.htm

Whereas Neil Cole's wonderful book Organic Church is more of a personal testimony based on personal experiences (http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Church-Growing-Faith-Happens/dp/078798129X/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b/104-1049996-2712733?ie=UTF8), "The Shaping of Things To Come' by Michael Frost and Alan Hirsch is more sociological and theological. Good combination between the two. Throw in Bolger and Gibbs' Emerging Churches (http://www.amazon.com/Emerging-Churches-Christian-Community-Postmodern/dp/0801027152/sr=1-1/qid=1157030795/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-1049996-2712733?ie=UTF8&s=books) and you have a great trinity of books that point the way toward a major way the Church will be saved in the century(ies) ahead to do its own transformational work in the world. Maybe.

The great strength of these books is again the way they have the paradigm shifts and changes in medium necessary to incarnate God in emerging cultures. The "fuzzy blueprints or maps" for the present and future are right on target as well as anything you will find in these days. They even have the right theological touchstones to sustain the next Reformation already underway (by the way, if I haven't posted this link, check out www.nextreformation.com). They are just wrong to still be tied into an orthodox Medieval theological interpretation of those touchstones while railing rightly against the Christendom ecclesial leftovers from Medieval Times. Recapturing the spirit and framework of Jesus and his followers and Paul and his followers, and perhaps even a few of the non-canonical heterodox communities, from 30-100 C.E. in order to shape the shape of the church in the 21st Century also means taking seriously the diversities of theologies present in those years, and particularly the connection with today's progressive, liberal, generous, inclusive Christianity. But then that's why I am where I am on the Christian spectrum, and they are where they are, and that distance, God bless, helps us learn from one another, even if by fueling our passion to be God gardeners in our own way so our experience of God isn't lost.

I certainly hope other liberals will read this work and wake up and get busy because those on the other end of the spectrum from us are so far ahead that pretty soon, very soon, the metaphor of a Christian or religious spectrum will be meaningless.

I will post more out of and about this book soon.