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The Out of Bounds Church?: Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change (emergentYS) Paperback – February 1, 2005
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'...a clear description of what's going on....[E]ngaging...a very good read and a great resource.' -- YouthWorker Journal <br><br> (YouthWorker Journal)
From the Back Cover
What's Going on Out There?
Author Steve Taylor takes trips to the edge of the church envelope and sends us back what he's finding inside the emerging church around the globe. From the revival of ancient spiritual practices to the rise of multimedia, each of his posts sketches a view of the body of Christ in wild flux. Topics include: birth; pilgrimage; community; creativity; DJing; and leading and following.
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THESIS OF THE BOOK: "Gospel and culture lie at the core of the emerging church," in which the Holy Spirit is fostering imaginative ways to embody a missional, incarnational and holistic Gospel.
PART 1: A paradigmatic cultural shift to a fast/cutting mentality paradoxically both fragments traditional community and provides opportunities for new modes of community. Changes are occurring at the edges of traditional Christianity, in the "border country of postmodernism."
Part 2: Coffee drinking can be a spiritual discipline (by allowing one to be present in culture). Emerging churches focus ahead, not behind; on birth, not death; on "God's constant re-creation." God is a God of creativity, play, and fun.
PART 3: Spiritual tourism invites "tourists" to move from the experiential to the experimental to existential converts. Redemptive portals draw people into spiritual community. A missional interface allows people to peg , but encourages them to participate in ethical communities. Remixing gospel and culture helps the church stay relevant in a society in which resampling and remixing is a primary communication mode.
PART 4: "The emerging church is a toddler" standing on the "fault lines of a cultural shift."
REFLECTION: I read this book three times, and each time gleaned a little more encouragement and discovered new potential areas of personal ministry.
I particularly resonate with the idea of spiritual tourism, inviting people on "guided journeys" into the spiritual domain. However, I wonder how to make these journeys out of the context of the church edifice, where so many factors can not be controlled. For example, I'd like to apply the concept of spiritual tourism to online role playing games, trying to set up events and situations where my "character" can guide other characters spiritually.
The nine "postcards" present snapshots of different aspects of the emerging church. No snapshot is definitive, but in aggregate they create an image of the emerging church as highly varied, rapidly changing, iconoclastic, community oriented and passionate about embodying the Gospel in culturally relevant ways. The greatest benefit for me (and I suspect for most) is in the "proof of concept" they represent. The wide variety also suggests that there are many more as yet undiscovered ways to "do" emerging churches.
Reviewed by Darren Cronshaw
From a writer across the Tasman but drawing from stories around the world, this is a collection of postcards from the emerging church - house churches, art collectives, weekly participative communities and labyrinths; as well as dreams of incarnational church plants, spiritual festivals and postmodern monasteries. It is a diverse conversation that links real experience of emerging churches, sociological and cultural analysis, and biblical reflection. It is easy to read but draws on a wealth of research (it was based on Taylor's reflections for his PhD on his experiences of a new way of being church Cityside Baptist Church [...]). Its images, quotes, practical suggestions, creative worship ideas and website addresses to explore invite the reader to think seriously, worship creatively and gather playfully; 'A key mission task of the church today is to be a playful space, providing the images, the spiritual "colored pencils," an the space for people to make connections between God, themselves, others, and God's world' (p.72). Taylor is concerned to connect the emerging church movement with the historic church, without derailing its freedom to be creative and innovative; and to ensure its priority of doing church creatively is undergirded by thoughtful theological reflection, without disconnecting from contemporary culture. Like the Luhrmann's recent Romeo and Juliet film that kept the ancient words but put it in postmodern images, he urges the church to set the gospel free to connect with contemporary culture, like a spiritual DJ that mixes gospel and culture together so that people dance to God's beat. The postcards are to give the impression that things are going well and fun, but ultimately to entice others to make their own journey. Steve operates the NZ future church platform [...]
Originally appeared in Darren Cronshaw, `The Emerging Church: Introductory Reading Guide', Zadok Papers, S143 (Summer 2005).