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Church in the Inventive Age (Christianity Now) Paperback – August 1, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Doug Pagitt is the founder of Solomon's Porch, a holistic missional Christian community in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and on e of the pioneering leaders of Emergent Village, a social network of Christians around the world. He is also co-founder of an event and social media company and author of a number of groundbreaking books: A Christianity Worth Believing, Church Re-Imagined, Preaching Re-Imagined, and BodyPrayer.

Product Details

  • Series: Christianity Now
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Sparkhouse Press (August 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451400853
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451400854
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,726,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Church in the Inventive Age confronts people of Christian faith with the challenge of embracing change. Willing spirits content with volatility in life will be affirmed and encouraged. Wary souls may be pushed into zones of discomfort and uneasiness. It's all good! Author, Doug Pagitt, boldly engages readers with a conversational style as he walks through the history of American society and shares how our culture has progressed thru 3 distinct ages in the last 200 years. He tells how the Agrarian, Industrial and Information Ages have brought us to the brink of what the author dubs the Inventive Age. The dawning Inventive Age, Pagitt proclaims, is upon us and will continue to progress at breakneck speed whether we are ready for it or not. The book reminds that every cultural age brings a shift in what we think (head), what we value (heart), what we do (aesthetics) and how we do it (tools). Pagitt contends the church must decide how we want to fit into today's culture. He challenges us to consider asking ourselves how we may develop components needed to live well TODAY. In sharing practical ideas for encouraging new forms of Christian community that foster people's ability to "make, connect, create and facilitate" Pagitt extols the church to boldly live out our call to be the people of God in this place and time. He taunts leaders to engage people in ways that uphold creativity, purpose, influence and possibility. Now is clearly the time for churches to welcome new ideas, to plug new people in and show them how to contribute here and now to a community alive with faith in Jesus Christ. Let's go!

Maggie Mraz,
church planter
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Format: Paperback
If Pagitt's book is about the church in the "inventive Age," one could also argue that his book is a book of the Inventive Age. It reads like a long essay (it took me about 45 minutes to read it cover to cover), and has many pull quotes inserted throughout that offers a lay-out similar to print journalism. It's the first book from sparkhouse, the Inventive Age subdivision of Augsburg Fortress (an Information Age institution).

It also reads like a sermon. It offers an analysis of the situation (especially reflections on culture and change), helps you chart where you are (Agrarian Age, Industrial Age, Information Age, or Inventive Age, which he also charts as rural, urban, suburban, global, see page 35), and then moves to encouragement to action, either as a church "for," "with," or "as" the Inventive Age (see comparison chart on page 108).

In this sense, Pagitt's book is not unlike Niebuhr's Christ and Culture, and compares favorably to it. It is shorter, very clear, and up to date. Leaders of congregations are more likely to read it (it takes about as much time to read as to watch a movie--Niebuhr's book takes two or three days to read well).

The other reason Pagitt's book compares to Niebuhr is that, although Pagitt says that churches that are informed by previous eras still can and should exist in the modern era (he offers great advice on how to be Agrarian, Industrial, or Information Age churches given the new cultural situation), finally he does prefer and encourage the Inventive Age, just as Niebuhr ultimately prefers Christ transforming culture.

Best pull quote from the book that summarizes his overall argument?
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Format: Paperback
Doug Pagitt is one of the mover and shakers in the new Emergent Church, if he would allow me to characterize him as such. I'm still not sure if that's acceptable to label the most prominent voices within this "movement" as "leaders" or what, so I'm going to have to resort to using the terminology that I know. At any rate, this book is written by one of the more prominent voices in the Emergent Church to describe where he sees the church going in what he terms the newest of new societal ages--the Inventive Age.

Pagitt begins by describing the church through the various "ages"--Agrarian, Industrial, Information, and now, Inventive. Each "age" influenced and was influenced by the church, so Pagitt. Culture shapes the way the church behaves, reacts, and changes over time. Pagitt then goes on to describe how the church might go forward in the Inventive Age, describing and making suggestions.

Nowhere in the book does he make hard and fast rules for the church. In fact, the lack of hard and fast rules might be one of the features of the Inventive-Age church as Pagitt sees it. The church will have to utilize people's desire to create information in order to continue to spread the message effectively, so Pagitt.

A drawback I have with the book is its use of the generic feminine pronoun instead of the masculine--or the all inclusive plural third person. I understand that the general rule has been to stay clear of saying "a reader...he," however, the rectification of this problem is not to say "a worshiper...she," etc. The several places where Pagitt discusses welcoming people into ranks of the church seem to be invalidated by what can be considered his no-less-than intentional use of the feminine generic pronoun.
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