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Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation Paperback – August 23, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-1566993944 ISBN-10: 1566993946

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (August 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566993946
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566993944
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #819,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Merritt has become an influential voice for and among that growing body of Christians known as the 'hyphenateds' or the 'loyal radicals.' In Reframing Hope, she speaks elegantly and eloquently about the blessings of keeping the treasures of inherited Church even as we move, in our times, toward new ways of being Church. What Merritt gives us here is just autobiographical enough to be easy reading and yet, at the same time, just academic and pastoral enough to be deadly accurate. It is also a clarion call to a revitalized practice within the established traditions of Western Christianity. --Phyllis Tickle, author, The Great Emergence

If you have been inspired and moved by the writings of Brian McClaren, Phyllis Tickle, and Diana Butler Bass, you must now add Carol Howard Merritt to the mix. Reframing Hope begins to address what so many have known in the 'emergent church' conversations for years: that the mainline church has been and will be a significant factor in the formation of whatever is next for the Protestant church in America. Through thoughtful generational insights, an unmistakable prophetic word, and novelesque narrative style, Reframing Hope is a must for anyone who cares deeply about God's reality for the church: past, present, and future. --Bruce Reyes-Chow, Founding Pastor, Mission Bay Community Church, San Francisco Former Moderator, General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)

Carol Howard Merritt's writing reflects both her prophetic and pastoral calling. She has a welcomed (if unsettling) clarity about where the church is now as well as an inspired vision of where it ought to be. And at the same time, her reader feels the love of a pastor who truly cares for the people of the Church and encouragingly walks with us as we sojourn towards a more liberated and renewed faith. --Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Associate Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University

About the Author

Carol Howard Merritt is a pastor at Western Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. and the author of Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation. Her blog can be found at TribalChurch.org, and she co-hosts the Internet radio show, The God Complex.

More About the Author

Carol Howard Merritt grew up along the beach of East Coast, Florida. After being raised as a conservative Baptist and attending a fundamentalist Bible college, she went to seminary and decided to become a minister. She's been a pastor for over ten years, serving Presbyterian churches in the swamps of Cajun Louisiana, a bayside village in Rhode Island, and in an urban neighborhood in D.C.

Carol blogs at TribalChurch.org, which is hosted by the Christian Century. She co-hosts God Complex Radio, a podcast with Derrick Weston. She writes for the Huffington Post and you can follow her on Twitter @CarolHoward.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Annabel Watters on October 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Already a known quantity in the world of post-modernism in American Christianity, Carol Howard Merritt (author of Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation) has just published her second book Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation. Although the titles sound eerily similar, this is not a rehash of her previous work. Rather it builds and expands on it. In Tribal Church, Merritt was primarily concerned with "Where are the young people? What do they want?" In Reframing Hope, she emphasizes the need to stay grounded in the traditions of our mainline churches, while looking for additional ways to "be Church". She encourages us to quit obsessing about the numbers decline in our denominations and instead to "shift our focus, take into account where we have been, and imagine what God is calling us to be."

The changing currents in "technology, organizing, communication, and spirituality...deeply affect the way we minister and form community." We can make two mistakes in dealing with this societal change. We can ignore what is coming, or we can dismiss what has passed. Both of these options will lead to our eventual demise. But we have faith that God is doing something in the world right now. It is up to us to discern what that is and what our role is in bringing it about.

Merritt discusses the opportunities available to us by redistributing authority, re-forming community, reexamining the medium (electronic communications), retelling the message, reinventing activism, renewing creation, and retraditioning spirituality. Using both biblical and personal examples and stories, she leads us to look again at our world and at our churches.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Melissa L. Derosia on October 1, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Carol Howard Merritt in her latest book "ReFraming Hope: Vital Ministry in a New Generation" doesn't take the fear and anxiety of mainline denominational decline and tie a pretty bow around it. With strength and courage she names the reality of the social, economic, cultural and religious landscape and intricately weaves that with God's hope proclaimed in the Biblical stories. She includes narratives from her own life, faith journey and theology that offer insight to the author's passion and commitment to the subject.

While there is no such thing as a "magic wand" that will fix the gap of younger generations missing from mainline denominations, I recommend this book to congregations and leaders who are seeking new ways to talk about and DO ministry in an intergenerational context.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. warner on October 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
Merritt speaks with a pastor's heart and a researcher's mind. Her conversational writing is in a language that is native to progressive mainline congregations. While her first book, Tribal Church, addressed how to include a younger generation in churches, this second offering looks at how the mainline tradition can reimagine its structures in the contemporary world. She examines authority, community, communication, message, activism, creation care and spirituality-offering insightful perspective and a way forward on how the contemporary church can respond and find new life.

This book is an essential resource in many ways. Presbymergents and "loyal radicals" of other denominations will find a helpful discussion of what makes us distinct in the emergent movement. Merritt puts voice to why I, and many others, choose to be in a denomination and what our hopes are for the future. Generation X-ers will find resonance in Carol's experience of the world and view of faith and why something just doesn't quite feel right about many churches. And lastly, church leaders will find a multitude of ideas and directions for how to restructure all aspects of their church. Prayerfully reading this book and considering its ramifications will spur many congregations' vision and mission.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Greg Smith (aka sowhatfaith) on February 29, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reframing Hope seeks to reframe the present situation in order to construct faithful and effective ministry today and the possibility for a brighter tomorrow. While many postmodern Gen-X pastors fluent in social media strive to move beyond their denominational heritage, Merritt writes as one who has chosen to stay and even refers to herself as a "loyal radical". She offers multiple comparisons of then (ministry at the peak of mainline membership and influence) and now to help readers of all generations grasp the significance of the shift. Rather than starting with deconstructing what was, she begins by constructing what is and should be with a pastoral blend of personal experiences viewed alongside those of the church throughout the ages and colored by hope. Sandwiched between her introduction, "What is the Substance of our Hope," and conclusion, "Hope in the Desert," she offers seven hope-filled creative chapters: redistributing authority, re-forming community, reexamining the medium, retelling the message, reinventing activism, renewing creation, and retraditioning spirituality.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jason Cashing on October 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
For any congregation struggling to (re)find their path in a new and sometimes intimidating landscape, Carol Howard Merritt once again offers up a calming yet purposeful way to do so. In her conversational writing style, she engages the reader without intimidating or using deeply theological vocabulary, and manages to at the same time honor the depth and dynamics of the subject content. Recognizing that each congregation and community are unique, she offers approaches to this task of re-visioning and incorporating the whole of the community, without creating just another "check-list to ministry and growth." If you're not reading her reflections, you really ought to be - it's that good!
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