(Say the Jesus Creed morning and evening during Lent.)
Last week we posted Michael Patton’s “map.” His was an attempt to create a map that revealed where specific emergent folks were to be placed theologically with respect to orthodoxy. Michael’s post generated an enormous response so I thought it would be good for me to point you to some brand new resources that will help you “map” what’s going on today.
First, I admit to some weariness with folks mischaracterizing emergent and emerging when we have had so many good studies mapping the whole thing. Well, now, the major debate is over. If you want to know what “emergent” (as in Emergent Village) is all about, here’s the only and best firsthand account: Tony Jones, The New Christians. I like the subtitle: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier. Tony pulls out all his punches: too much left vs. right, what emerging is, the Bible as propaganda, friendships, legalisms of the left, “after objectivity,” his clever umpire stuff, and more about Solomon’s Porch. Here’s what I have to say: from now on all conversation about emergent begins right here. (I’ll be posting more about this book, but for today — a valuable mapping of emergent.)
Second, if Tony’s book digs deep into one facet of the American church, Tom Sine’s new book sketches the big trends. Sine, author of The New Conspirators, may provide for “emerging” what Tony does for “emergent.” Sine’s book maps four areas of church shifts: emerging, missional, mosaic, and (new) monasticism. You may not be old enough, but I am, to know of Tom Sine’s famous book, The Mustard Seed Conspiracy. That old book from 1972 revealed underground Christianity taking shape in the USA; it was sensational at the time. So, when I met Tom last year I was deeply honored to meet this veteran mapper. In this new book, Tom explores taking the culture seriously, taking the future seriously, taking turbulent times seriously and taking our imaginations seriously. A wondrous ride through the alley ways.
Finally, I’ve been stating for a few years we need more books about The Third Way. Roger Olson, in his new book (How to be Evangelical without being Conservative), has done just that. Yes, I blurbed Tony’s and Tom’s book; but I wrote the Foreword to this book. I read the ms up and back on a plane trip, took notes, forgot the ms on the plane, and got home and bubbled over into that foreword because I found the book so blooming interesting. Here are some chp titles: being biblical without orthodoxy, building character without moralism, celebrating America without nationalism, seeking truth without certainty, taking the Bible seriously without literalism, …. stuff like this. 12 chps exploring the middle ground between polarities. Thanks Roger.