The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontierby Tony Jones
Following on the questions raised by Brian McLaren in A New Kind of Christian, Tony Jones has written an engaging exploration of what this new kind of Christianity looks like. Writing "dispatches" about the thinking and practices of adventurous Emergent/b>
What the "Emergent Church Movement" is all about-and why it matters to the future of Christianity
Following on the questions raised by Brian McLaren in A New Kind of Christian, Tony Jones has written an engaging exploration of what this new kind of Christianity looks like. Writing "dispatches" about the thinking and practices of adventurous Emergent Christians across the country, he offers an in-depth view of this new "third way" of faith-its origins, its theology, and its views of truth, scripture and interpretation, and the Emergent movement's hopeful and life-giving sense of community. With the depth of theological expertise and broad perspective he has gained as a pastor, writer, and leader of the movement, Jones initiates readers into the Emergent conversation and offers a new way forward for Christians in a post-Christian world. With journalistic narrative as well as authoritative reflection, he draws upon on-site research to provide fascinating examples and firsthand stories of who is doing what, where, and why it matters.
Jones (The Sacred Way) provides the single best introduction to the Emergent Church movement, of which he is a prominent leader. The mainline denominations are dying, and the hyperindividualism of evangelicalism is unsatisfying, so many young evangelicals, Jones explains, have decided to recreate church for postmodern times. Jones credits Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christianwith raising important questions about sounding the Gospel in an era beset by questions about foundationalism, epistemology and how to read Scripture. He passionately defends the emergent movement from criticism. In particular, critics are wrong to claim that emergents don't really believe in the Bible; emergents passionately love the Bible, says Jones, but also know that finite human beings cannot definitively articulate truth. The strongest sections put flesh on these theoretical bones by taking readers into actual emergent churches, like Jacob's Well in Kansas City, Mo., where the pastor draws on Catholic practice, engages the visual arts and sees the church's job as assisting people on their "pilgrimage" of faith. Jones's writing is brisk and conversational, but the book gets poor marks for design. Call-out boxes, pull quotes and frequent font changes, which might be thought to appeal to a younger audience, in fact make for distracting and disjointed reading. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
A doctoral and research fellow at Princeton Theological Seminary, Jones currently serves as the national coordinator of Emergent Village, a nonprofit organization of the Emergent movement, an ecumenical and postmodern form of American Christianity. The Emergent movement values inclusion; rejects the secular/sacred dichotomy, finding God active in all of life; believes friendship and reconciliation to be more important than doctrinal agreement; and gives greater weight to the biblical call to community than to the democratic assertion of individual rights. It values orthopraxis (doing the Gospel) over orthodoxy (believing the Gospel) and often engages in social and/or political activism without attaching to a particular political party. Here, Jones analyzes the movement in 21-sentence dispatches that describe its chief characteristics and follows each dispatch with narrative illustration and discussion that successfully help clarify and amplify the movement's features. Highly recommended for public and seminary libraries.
Carolyn M. Craft
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Meet the Author
Tony Jones (tonyj.net) is the author of many books on Christian ministry and spirituality, including The Sacred Way: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Life. He is a theologian-in-residence at Solomon's Porch in Minneapolis and a doctoral fellow in practical theology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Tony is a sought-after speaker and consultant in the areas of emerging church, postmodernism, and Christian spirituality. Tony has three children and lives in Edina, Minnesota.
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