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Stories of Emergence: Moving from Absolute to Authentic (Emergent YS) Paperback – February 21, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this anthology about ministry and the Christian faith in the early 21st century, some of the finest evangelical storytellers share their personal tales. Ministers, writers and evangelists edgily explore what it means to be a faithful follower of and witness to Jesus Christ. Eastern Orthodox memoirist Frederica Mathewes-Green explains why she rejected feminism, Jay Bakker describes heart-to-hearts with young men in bars and Joanne Badley meditates on living in exile. James Engle's bracing piece about evangelism, work and the business world is alone worth the price of admission. (Why do evangelicals get exorcised about abortion and homosexuality, he asks, but "remain silent about endemic public corruption?") An afterword by Brian McLaren, author of the much-heralded A New Kind of Christian, draws together the overarching theme of the essays: new voices, ones that push certain envelopes, are emerging within evangelicalism. McLaren hopes the old guard will be attentive, rather than threatened. The only thing that disappoints is the book's too-hip packaging. This collection bends over backwards to look as though it is engaging postmodernity-but, in fact, few of these stories are especially concerned with postmodern issues. The end result is that, while each single essay stands as interesting and thought-provoking, the anthology as a whole seems faintly manipulative in its savvy marketing. Still, Christian readers who do not find this too distracting will be richly rewarded for perusing these stories of emergence.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

Imagine coming to a crossroads where you’re no longer sure who you are, why you do what you do, why you believe the way you do. You’re not even sure you care. Where do you go?

Follow the stories of people who were steeped in their beliefs–a former fundamentalist, a former Pentecostal, a former liberal, a former feminist, a former communist, and several other "formers"–and walk with them on their journeys out of those beliefs. See what twists and turns arise before them, and find out what they learned (about faith, themselves, their beliefs, the world) as they emerged on the other side.

This diverse group of Christian leaders discloses and shares in vulnerable, uncommon ways, allowing you full access into their doubts, fears, convictions, and unanswered questions. Each takes you on a path from absolute to authentic: from a place of false conviction and thin resolution, through struggles and growing pains, to a new place that’s much more about process than about having "arrived."

When it comes to journeys of faith, we often don’t know what lies at the end of the road. It’s difficult to take the first step when we are so unsure of the destination. As you read these stories, you’ll find there is room to challenge your fears as well as your faith.


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Product Details

  • Series: Emergent YS
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan/Youth Specialties (February 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310253861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310253860
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,931,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Besides Yaconelli and McLaren, thirteen different people share their frustration with the modernistic church and how they escaped the discontent. While the book contained some great insights - James Engel's view of evangelism, for example - I was pretty bored through about half of the book. What is to be expected when you have so many different writers? Perhaps this is one point of postmodernism - everyone's stories will not be exciting, and that is okay. Honestly, I bought the book because of McLaren and Yaconelli, but they weren't so much the players in the game as they were the announcers at the game. If you are discontent with boring, businesslike christianity, this book will share some real-life stories and, possibly, give you some hope that all Christians aren't the same. Don't buy it for a definition of postmodernism or for Yaconelli's name. For Yaconelli-likers, look into Dangerous Wonder or Messy Spirituality - two great thought-challenging books.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alwyn Lau on March 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
The multi-authored Stories of Emergence showcases personal stories of church disillusionment and suspicion with the institutionalised, doctrine-oriented church, out of which emerges (you knew I was going to use this word, right?) new thinking and (perceived) authenticity in spirituality and the understanding of what this whole 'God' thing is about.

For the book's sake, it probably isn't a good idea to read all the stories at one go. Treat it like Dilbert and make it a friend for a time-out. Two stories max per reading should suffice.

And there are some good ones. The story I started with, Frederica Mathewes-Green's chastisement her earlier feminist attitudes, was one of the best, for me:

"It's not what feminists say, but how they it...An attitude of self-righteousness. A tendency to pull rank as a victim. A lack of humility. A blindness to the fact that women, just as talented as men, are just as sinful too. Smugness, touchiness, judgmentalism, and even darkner notes of condescension, ridicule, and anger toward men.

"Pretty much the opposite of every line in 1 Corinthians 13. My brothers and sisters, 'you have not so learned Christ' (Ephesians 4:20)" (p.134)

I also enjoyed Tony Jones sharing of his character-shaping encounters with people like James McClendon, Nancey Pearcey and Miroslav Volf. It's strikingly coincidental how barely a few hours after I first heard the word 'liminal' during a meeting, I saw it again in Jones' essay, talking about liminal times - the "thin times, the border times when we're in the midst of cultural change". (p.66)

Todd Hunter's piece brought back some cute memories of friends telling me about the un-Christian it was to have drums in church(!).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Betty L. Sheldon on December 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Not knowing much about post-modern thinking, I found EMERGENCE informative and interesting as various writers bared their souls, telling their frustrations with the way church is usually done. Much of what they said, I could resonate with.

Most of the writers appeared to be in the experimental stage of trying to discover a more meaningful way to connect with fellow church attendees and the world at large. However, for me, Jo-Anne Badley articulated the best solution.
She is a Baptist, teaching Biblical Theology in Newman Theological College in Canada, a Catholic institution.

She discusses the modern church at length then goes on to say that "the post modern world looks like the same dissonance I have always known..." What she fears is an arrogance that assumes you know the truth, that you are like God, is always a danger, whether that arrogance is found in individuals or communities."

"In all this dislocation I expect to experience unusual grace. My responsibility is to faithfulness, so that I recognize grace even when it comes in unusual forms. Measured amounts of food cooked on cow dung. Or a vision of a temple. Or a Jesuit priest. Or my female body. Laugh. God makes good jokes."

Betty L. Sheldon, author of OMNIPIECE
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Format: Paperback
Mike Yaconelli, Stories of Emergence: Moving from Absolute to Authentic (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2003)

Reviewed by Darren Cronshaw

This is a collection of stories about Christians moving on from previously-held convictions, through their doubts and fears, to new senses of community, spiritual formation, and unexpected grace. For example, Mike Yaconelli describes his transformation from preoccupation with efficiency, pretending and doing to being real and free to 'frolic in God's presence'. Tony Jones the youth pastor discovered he was really an event manager, and so reinvented his ministry with contemplative prayer and intergenerational community. A former fundamentalist, former Pentecostal, former liberal, former communist, former feminist and others describe their crises and discoveries about faith, worldview or ministry. Experience of this sort of `emergence' can be disconcerting but is almost inevitable for Christians as they mature and as they grapple with the changing context of postmodernity. More stories are collecting at [...] , where you can add your story as well. And look out for the growing list of emergentYS books (which publishes on emerging church and culture).

This review originally appeared in Darren Cronshaw, `The Emerging Church: Introductory Reading Guide', Zadok Papers, S143 (Summer 2005).
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