Saturday, November 24, 2007

A book a day Nov 24

Keeping up the posting, only a week more to do for NaBloPoMo.

I've just got back a couple of hours ago from 36 hours away in North Wales at the Rural Theology Association conference, it was a good time of chatting, learning, thinking and praying about issues pertinent to those in rural ministry and the ways in which the Church can and should respond to the challenges of life in the countryside at this time.

So today's book, Theological but not exclusively Rural!

In many ways this was a book that profoundly affected many Christians in the UK and could even been seen as part of the birth of the 'emergent' Church in the UK ( Although 'emergent' is usually used to describe a particular movement in the US Church). Dave explores and offers his own contribution to the debate about where the Church is going in the late 20th (when it was written) and early 21st Century. It's a book about the roots of the church and the confusion between Church tradition and Christian Faith, particularly in the Evangelical wing of the Church. Dave encourages the reader to try and disentangle these two things and to see the value in the wider traditions of the Church. He seeks to offer help on the journey for those who are dissatisfied with many of the doctrinal suppositions of the Evangelical movement in the UK who feel they want to take some of the values and ideas from that tradition and move forward in their exploration of Christian life without being weighed down by the 'baggage' associated with that particular way of being Church.

It's a sensitive book, and doesn't preach negatively about Evangelicalism, but seeks to offer some balance to particular doctrinal stances which are sometimes confused with being Scriptural, when they are more a particular interpretation of Scripture. In the 1990s when this book appeared there wasn't anyone giving voice to an alternative way of being Church to either being 'liberal' or 'conservative' - Dave does a good job of expressing a 'third way' and offering the reader the opportunity to take on board new ways of thinking about what it means to be Christian and to be 'church'.

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