This convoluted title to my post today means that I’ve found a book that no one seems to talk much about but which is a very fine book — and when I was wandering around trying to find the best stuff on the emerging movement last year, I wish I had read this book. Steve Taylor, The Out of Bounds Church? Learning to Create a Community of Faith in a Culture of Change.
In a sense this is a different kind of book like that of Gibbs and Bolger; if theirs describes and analyzes the big picture, Taylor’s explores thematically local communties. A big idea in the book is how the emerging movement is like a DJ: mixing elements of culture in order understand God and the gospel better. He contends the two — gospel and culture — are always together.
I’ll tell you why I think this is a good book: it is theology emerging from praxis and praxis emerging from theological reflection, and both emerging in and out of local contexts, and each of these three items emerging out of serious engagement with culture and philosophy. Now if that doesn’t get your dander up, nothing will — and that means you’re probably not emerging.
And with all this emerging stuff emerging it means there aren’t final answers for lots of things.
It is hard to describe this book. Each chp is a postcard from different locations where a variety of communities of faith are forming and where a different theme of such churches is highlighted: culture, community, creativity, birthing, redemptive portals, pegging … well, this sort of thing that can’t be buttoned down or zippered up into some category we’ve already got in our head … and then we can apply and think we’ve got this stuff figured out … which is exactly what Steve Taylor is doing here: exploring the development of communities of faith through differing and alternative images in order to shed light on what God is doing in this great world of ours.
Here’s a question he asked that I think needs to be asked more intensely: the big issue facing emerging churches is how to integrate spiritual tourism with redemptive community — how to manage change and commitment at the same time.
If you read this book, you just might find a deep perception of what emerging is all about when you take a global perspective.