Book Review: The New Christians #1

This post is the first of 6 from Tony Jones new book called, “The New Christians.”

The first thing I want to say about this book is that it is easy to read. Important words are defined in inset boxes, it is written in digestable chunks, and it is generously sprinkled with relevant stories. Tony can write.

Chapter one presents the reader with the problem with the modern American church. Neither liberal nor conservative churches escape being exposed as flawed. My favorite word in the entire chapter is compost. I liked it so much I created a category on this blog called “Compost Pile,” which will serve as place for posts representing the specific church of Christ compost pile that is rotting in our ecclesial back yard.

Jones’ compost, as best as I understand it, represents the old, stale, entreched, decaying, dying church structures, systems, and organizations. It is the waste that churches decide to keep around because of decisions made long ago, the need to maintain a distinct identity, or the inertia of beaurocratic layers which just can’t be stopped. Each group’s compost is different in some way, but the common theme of spiritual death runs through them all.

Being introduced to the philosophical notion of foundationalism was insightful and worth getting into. He provides a mock conversation which I am sure has been had a million times which does a fine job of showing the problem Christians have with foundationalism.

Jones ends chapter 1 with a dispatch from the blogosphere and how emergent might be something more than an insular theological exercise for educated white people. The inclusion of Musings From a Postmodern Negro is not just a strategic move by Jones, it is a statement to White Christianity and a critique of emergent that there are many voices that must be heard which are not sitting at the same table. Just because Christianity has always been segregated in America does not mean that it has to be that way in the future.  

This book is relevant to members of churches of Christ because our heritage sits smack in the middle of the critique of the conservative wing of Christianity. There are New Chritians in churches of Christ who will find this book a breath of fresh air. Ministers, elders, deacons, professors, and bible teachers in churches of Christ should also be looking into “The New Christians.”
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Go to The New Christians #2

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2 Responses to “Book Review: The New Christians #1”

  1. Brian Humek Says:

    Hello,

    I would like to know if might be able to contribute some book reviews or other thought provoking writings to my online magazine. You can find it at http://zauth.org.

    I belong to the churches of Christ but…as you’ll see from our new church plant website http://zachshouse.org and from Zauth Magazine, I think a bit differently than I do.

    I would love to have you write an article on how churches in general and specifically the churches of Christ have focused so much time on converting people of differing faiths to their own point of view. This has led to getting away from working with the unchurched who have concentric cirlcles of unchurched friends and family. The churches of Christ focus so much on being right and knowing everyone else is wrong, that they focus on converting Methodists and Baptists and Christian Church members and once they convert one of these, the only people they know are other church members. Therefore, our chain in the conversion stops immediately with the person we convert and leads no where else.

    If we focused on converting the unchurched, we would have a numerous people through that one conversion that we could befriend, example Jesus to, and tell about Jesus eventually.

    This is just an idea and you seem like you could tackle and understand such an article.

    Thank you,
    Brian

  2. Book Review: The New Christians #2 « Emergent Church of Christ Says:

    […] Book Review: The New Christians #2 The New Christians Part 1 […]

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