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Subterranean: Why the Future of the Church is Rootedness Paperback – August 24, 2015
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While thoroughly Biblical and practical, I did find that there was an under emphasis placed on church gatherings. This is done almost to the point of making me feel guilty to spending time preparing for my weekly sermons. While the church should be missional and rooted in their neighborhood, we are also called to preach expositional sermons, worship corporately, train, equip, serve, disciple and send. So there should be both and inward and outward focus to the church (ala Galatians 6:10; Ephesians 4:11-13; Colossians 3:15-17).
This however is a minor critique as I found much more to be positive about than negative. I was encouraged, challenged, and love the church even more because of this book! Thank you!
In this chapter Dan calls the church away from a me-centered christian imagination shaped by the Jesus-is-my-personal-Lord-and-Savior rhetoric that has ultimately made us complicit to the other oppressive empires. He reminds us that the life-blood of the Spirit flows from the taproot of fidelity and gives birth to the subversive society God’s in-breaking kingdom intends to create. This is what Dan calls “the resistance movement of the church, faithful to the mission of being the subversive kingdom presence in the world.”
The modern church has failed to see what the early church understood so well, that the kingdoms of this age clash against the kingdom of God. “The Powers,” as Dan calls them, work against the new realities proposed to us by the reign of Christ. Our lack of awareness, nurtured by our consumeristic tendencies and self-centeredness, has caused us to ignore the Powers that have pressed into cruciformity and infiltrated the church. Consequently, we’re losing our identity as we steadily wander away from our call to subversive resistance to the Powers.
Dan reminds us that the church is a subversive society, but not the kind that fights in open belligerence for justice, peace, belonging, and healing by asserting power over others or managing outcomes. The church as the subversive kingdom presence in a particular location participates in a different kind of subversion, one that patiently embodies a cross-shaped imagination by self-giving love that works to undermine other expressions and understandings of power to create new possibilities and new realities. This “subterranean” way of being gives birth to a faithful community of disciples committed to the “difficult discipleship of discernment” who refuse to waiver from naming and engaging the Powers contrary to the way of God’s kingdom (Dan offers a brief but remarkable description of the process of naming and engaging in this chapter). This leads to practicing fidelity.