Church In The Present Tense has recently been reviewed blogger Jonny Baker who works for CMS. Edited by Kevin Corcoran the contributors are Jason Clark, Pete Rollins, Scot McKnight and Kevin himself. The book aims to give a snapshot of these and a few other leaders within what is sometimes called ‘the emerging church’.
Jonny's review kicks off with what some may think as a bit of an unfair comment that the book has no representation from women. I think this is a valid point as an important aspect of the emerging types is they claim to listen to voices from the margins yet apparently lack female leaders or at least need to promote them more. I remember Jenny Baker, one year at Greenbelt, mentioning the lack of female leaders in general in churches when discussing gender issues in her talk ‘Sod the Difference’.
The review then points out how the book clearly shows the different perspectives on theology, mission and church that are held by the contributors. I think this is an important point as many still think there is a monolithic doctrine of the emerging church – so when someone they link with that label says something they don’t agree with everyone gets ‘tarred with the same brush’, so to speak. He points out that in the midst of all the philosophical debating we do need a humility about truth but one that doesn’t stop us saying things that are real such as Jesus really did rise from the dead.
Oddly Jonny doesn't give a rounded overview of the book but instead comments in detail about the two chapters that stood out for him by Jason Clark an 'emerging church' leader who is part of the Vineyard churches.
Alternative Worship. I am very aware that these liturgical aspects of worship have been largely shunned by those in my circles. But I would concur with Jonny’s hope that now they will be opened up afresh. Again Jonny emphasises the importance of mission and engaging with our culture. He feels that these are important aspects of worship in addition to the idea of spiritual formation that Jason Clark outlines.
Even though Jonny rambled on a bit and his thoughts really do need editing I found this a fascinating review. I really must investigate this book further.