Posts Tagged ‘The New Christians’

Book Review: The New Christians #2

June 6, 2008

The New Christians Part 1

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This post is the 2nd of 6 from Tony Jones new book called, “The New Christians

Chapter 2 starts out with some fiction (Tony is secretly a fan of fiction), an allegory. It serves to set the stage for the lion’s share of the rest of the chapter which covers, warts and all, the friendships which evolved into a movement. But this movement was not started by these friends, packaged tastefully, and then promoted, although it could easily be interpretted that way. Instead, this group of friends got together and began to recognize that there was a common experience among them which had no voice. They wondered if there were others “getting it” (whatever ‘it’ was).

The story goes on sharing how many people were experiencing the same thing in the United States and in the U.K.  

This chapter is a skin of made partly of history, partly of autobiography, partly of fiction, partly of anecdote – a skin wrapped around the response to the problem of the RIGHT/LEFT Christianity denoted in the first chapter.

What is not stated as expicitly as it could have been is the incredible risk taken by many of these emergent friends. Many of these people have cast their lot with a life of church and then turned their back on the bread and butter. Many of these people have families to feed, have rent or mortgages to pay, have to make ends meet. They put it on the line with the institutional support completely evaporated.

I wanted to hear more about the emerging church in Africa, South America, Asia, and Australia. The stories from other continents, if there are any, didn’t make chapter 2 of the book besides a reference to Brian McLaren’s travels to Africa. But that is still an American headed out. I want to hear about Korean emergents, Guatemalan emergents etc. I also want to hear more about women in emergent. Factor out Karen Ward, and there is not much talk of women.  

What this chapter best does is show how something comes out of nothing. How emergence happens – or can happen. It is not a model for how to do it, but rather it is a story that shows that it can be done. People with a passion, an itching, a yearning, with a sense that maybe this church life is getting in the way of your relationship with God, then chapter 2 gives hope that you don’t have to just be suffocated by your denomination. At the same time, you can’t be a little emergent. So far as Jones is concerned, it is full immersion.

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