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Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Rising from the Ashes - Week 1
For this month's book discussion we will be looking at Becky Garrison's Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church. This book is unique in that it presents the reader with interviews of a variety of people rethinking church and worship. A variety of topics are covered as one reads of the ways in which these people are moving the church forward (some of which are emerging/emergent).

In the book one is presented with the direct words of each person interviewed and so receives many differing perspectives. Not all of the statements agree with each other and one quickly realizes that there are many ways to approach new ways of doing/being the church. Over this next month we will explore some of the ideas presented in the book and have the opportunity to go deeper with a few of the people highlighted in the book. I look forward to exploring these ideas together.

Today I want to start where the book starts and discuss the idea of "where are we now." As the church and as a culture, what's going on? A few quotes on this topic stood out to me. I'll list them here and invite you all to respond. How do you react to these quotes? Agree? Disagree? Do they portray the ethos of the time well? What can you add?

Phyllis Tickle - "Evangelicalism has lost much of its credibility and much of its spiritual energy of late, in much the same way that mainline Protestantism has. There's going to be - is, in fact - a whole upheaval, and then the landscape is going to settle back down again as it always does. We have to remember that it's not as if Protestantism came forth in one perfect or cohesive package out of Luther. Almost from the beginning, it had variants like the Confessing and Reformed movements that followed along quickly." p. 3

Diana Butler Bass - "...Once a church community gets to that point, then it opens the possibility for them to do some really serious imaginative work in reworking Christian tradition and to change context - which is what Christians have been doing since before the time of Constantine. It's really exciting work at many levels because it's sort of the deepest kind of connective work to the heart of tradition - that tradition and culture always change. The vocation of God's people: to figure out how the gospel makes sense in each one of these successive ways that we've lived in for the past two thousand years." p.6

Ian Mobsby - "so we find ourselves in a new opportunity of engaging with new forms of mysticism in our culture - which the church has resources for - and that our model of diversity and turning to understandings of the church drawing on the character of God - helps us reframe the church from institutional to community, Eucharist from control to grace, from power priesthood - to powerless priesthood - the post Christendom perspective is key... the need to draw on the ancient - labyrinths and premodern resources - to inform the postmodern are vital." p.27

Kester Brewin - "An emergent faith is not a wishy-washy liberalism by another name. It is a serious attempt to move beyond hard-line positions to a place where we understand the interdependence and inter-relation of things. We must therefore ensure that the back-drop to our movement is not a limp screen of "trendy postmodernism" lit by a dim tea-light of reactionary flight, but a serious engagement with culture and thought, resonating with the ison of the Spirit that calls the body again to re-imagination and re-configuration based on God's radical, bottom-up principles." p. 34-35

Troy Bronsink - "The only way I know how to talk about emergent is to balance this with a farther-sighted hope about missional living and how we're called to participate in the inbreaking Kingdom of God. In other words, the "how" of church is continually reshaped when the Spirit reshapes our imagination of the "why" of church. Emergent is a conversation between folks about a new post-Christendom "why." p.40

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posted by Julie at 4:24 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 1/02/2008 11:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    is it just me or does troy continually say the most insightful things every time he opens his mouth?

  • At 1/04/2008 09:47:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    I like wat Troy says about re-imagining the why of church...we have continuity with history and tradition, yet we are created new every morning and we are part of creating anew as well the church.

  • At 1/04/2008 10:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous

    Thank you Julie for getting the dialogue going. Here's a short blog posting Brian McLaren did for The God's Politics blog that might be of interst.



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