- 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 (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,588,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Stories of Emergence: Moving from Absolute to Authentic (Emergent YS) Paperback – February 21, 2003
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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 youre no longer sure who you are, why you do what you do, why you believe the way you do. Youre not even sure you care. Where do you go?
Follow the stories of people who were steeped in their beliefsa 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 thats much more about process than about having "arrived."
When it comes to journeys of faith, we often dont know what lies at the end of the road. Its difficult to take the first step when we are so unsure of the destination. As you read these stories, youll find there is room to challenge your fears as well as your faith.
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Top customer reviews
You don't get the same boring rehash of where the enlightenment got us, and what to do about it analysis. These stories have a more personal dimension to them. Every person writing decided what ways they should engage the culture in their context. There is nothing formulaic about it.
If I have one criticism, it is that I wish a few other authors were included. But that doesn't mean what others offered will be found wanting. Excellent book.
Mike Yaconelli lives on in his uber-chellenging introduction
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(!). And how can I not resonate with Spencer Burke's paragraph on spiritual McCarthyism:
"In today's evangelical world, one of the worst things you can be called is liberal. Challenge an accepted belief or confess doubt and you're the equivalent of a card-carrying communist. Brows furrow. Eyes narrow. Lips purse." (p.30)
Brian McLaren echoes this tension when he writes in his afterword:
"(Can) the gatekeepers of modern evangelicalism see these brothers and sisters as resources, pioneers, a research-and-development wing of the movement...or will they see them as a threat?" (p.224)
I also suspect God planned it such that I had to be at an unfamiliar section of town at 5.30 in the morning (after dropping my dad off at the bus station), drinking coffee and reading these words by Chris Seay, "Jesus understood that it's not only the truth that changes us, but also the journey of seeking truth."
This book isn't for those who want some idea on how to "move forward" in one's walk and ministry with Christ. It'd be a mistake to take any one story and say, "That's how I/we should progress". Unless I'm completely mistaken, the very idea of progress isn't even a category in emergent thought.
There are no "doctrines" in the book, no new theology, no new "synthesis of ideas" and what-nots. This will undoubtedly leave the reader with the impression that the authors care more about praxis than about doctrine (eliciting, as much of Emergent output has, the occasional remonstrance). They probably do.
In an experimental mode, getting things right is less important than doing as many helpful things as you can. And there's really no other to explain this - except maybe via stories?
Thus, I read these essays - some were dull (because predictable), some sad, most were fun - and emerged (there we go again) a more hopeful person. Hopeful because God does not does not does NOT require super-holy, all-doctrine-knowing perfection from us prior to giving us His joy and using us as conduits of his love.
The stories of emergence are stories of grace.
Note: Don't treat the two-star rating as implying that I'm not *recommending* it. I am. Sorta. It's just that I don't think it need be all that high up on one's "to-read" list. It's a good book to have but there are lots of better stuff out there.
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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