Culture / Formation / Theology / Witness

15 Books from 2018 that Will Get You to #ReadWomen

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Is your bookshelf full of mostly older (white) male theologians? We have the perfect remedy for you. Below you’ll find a list of Missio Alliance’s top picks from 2018 of women authors, ministers, historians, and theologians who are impacting the way we understand God’s Church on mission in North America.

Let’s face it: women and men alike, our competence and maturity as disciples and leaders suffer if we are not reading and learning from women. If your seminary education or church upbringing denied you of the opportunity to do so, I’ve got good news for you: it’s never too late. Grab one of these books and settle in.

Our competence and maturity as disciples and leaders suffer when we don't #ReadWomen. Check out these 15 books written by women that help us understand and engage in God's mission. Click To Tweet

Women in God’s Mission: Accepting the Invitation to Serve and Lead

by Mary T. Lederleitner, IVP Books

Women have advanced God’s mission throughout history and around the world. But women often face particular obstacles in ministry. What do we need to know about how women thrive? Mission researcher Mary Lederleitner interviewed and surveyed respected women in mission leadership from across the globe to gather their insights, expertise, and best practices. She unveils how women serve in distinctive ways and identifies key traits of faithful connected leaders. When women face opposition based on their gender, they employ various strategies to carry on with resilience and hope. Real-life stories and case studies shed light on dynamics that inhibit women and also give testimony to God’s grace and empowerment in the midst of challenges. Women and men will find resources here for partnering together in effective ministry and mission.

 

The Lost Discipline of Conversation: Surprising Lessons in Spiritual Formation Drawn from the English Puritans

by Joanne J. Jung, Zondervan Press

In The Lost Discipline of Conversation, spiritual formation professor and author Joanne Jung walks readers through the Puritan practice of “conference,” or focused, spiritual conversations intended to promote ongoing transformation. An antidote to privatized faith, conference calls believers to biblical literacy and soul care in a context of transparency and accountability.

 

Leadership: In Turbulent Times

by Doris Kearns Goodwin, Simon & Schuster

Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader? In Leadership, Goodwin draws upon the four presidents she has studied most closely—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)—to show how they recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking back to their first entries into public life, we encounter them at a time when their paths were filled with confusion, fear, and hope.

 

Beyond Colorblind: Redeeming Our Ethnic Journey

by Sarah Shin, IVP Books

Ethnicity and evangelism specialist Sarah Shin shows how our brokenness around ethnicity can be restored and redeemed, for our own wholeness and also for the good of others. When we experience internal transformation in our ethnic journeys, God propels us outward in a reconciling witness to the world. Ethnic healing can demonstrate God’s power and goodness to others and bring good news to the world. Shin helps us make space for God’s healing our ethnic stories, grow in our crosscultural skills, manage crosscultural conflict, pursue reconciliation and justice, and share the gospel as ethnicity-aware Christians.

 

Invitation to Retreat: The Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God

by Ruth Haley Barton, IVP Books

Ruth Haley Barton gently and eloquently leads us into an exploration of retreat as a key practice that opens us to God. Based on her own practice and her experience leading hundreds of retreats for others, she will guide you in a very personal exploration of seven specific invitations contained within the general invitation to retreat. You will discover how to say yes to God’s winsome invitation to greater freedom and surrender. There has never been a time when the invitation to retreat is so radical and so relevant, so needed and so welcome. It is not a luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual life.

 

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

by Austin Channing Brown, Convergent Books

In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value “diversity” in their mission statements, I’m Still Here is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric–from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

 

The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships

by Suzanne Stabile, IVP Books

Most of us have no idea how others see or process their experiences. And that can make relationships hard, whether with intimate partners, with friends, or in our professional lives. Understanding the motivations and dynamics of these different personality types can be the key that unlocks sometimes mystifying behavior in others―and in ourselves. This book from Suzanne Stabile on the nine Enneagram types and how they behave and experience relationships will guide readers into deeper insights about themselves, their types, and others’ personalities so that they can have healthier, more life-giving relationships. No one is better equipped than the coauthor of The Road Back to You to share the Enneagram’s wisdom on how relationships work―or don’t.

 

Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ

by Fleming Rutledge, Eerdman’s Press

Advent, says Fleming Rutledge, is not for the faint of heart. As the midnight of the Christian year, the season of Advent is rife with dark, gritty realities. In this book, with her trademark wit and wisdom, Rutledge explores Advent as a time of rich paradoxes, a season celebrating at once Christ’s incarnation and his second coming, and she masterfully unfolds the ethical and future-oriented significance of Advent for the church.

 

Can “White” People Be Saved? Triangulating Race, Theology, and Mission

by Love L. Sechrest (Editor), with contributions by Andrea Smith, Elizabeth Conde-Frazier, and Erin Dufault-Hunter, IVP Academic

No one is born white. But while there is no biological basis for a white race, whiteness is real. What’s more, whiteness as a way of being in the world has been parasitically joined to Christianity, and this is the ground of many of our problems today. It is time to redouble the efforts of the church and its institutions to muster well-informed, gospel-based initiatives to fight racialized injustice and overcome the heresy of whiteness. Written by a world-class roster of scholars, Can “White” People Be Saved? develops language to describe the current realities of race and racism. It challenges evangelical Christianity in particular to think more critically and constructively about race, ethnicity, migration, and mission in relation to white supremacy.

 

A Sojourner’s Truth: Choosing Freedom and Courage in a Divided World 

by Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, IVP Books

Intertwined with Natasha Sistrunk Robinson’s story is the story of Moses, a leader who was born into a marginalized people group, resisted injustices of Pharaoh, denied the power of Egypt, and trusted God even when he did not fully understand or know where he was going. Along the way we courageously explore the spiritual and physical tensions of truth-telling, character and leadership development, and bridge building across racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and gender lines.

 

Raise Your Voice: Why We Stay Silent and How to Speak Up

by Kathy Khang, IVP Books

In some communities, certain voices are amplified and elevated while others are erased and suppressed. It can be hard to speak up, especially in the ugliness of social media. Power dynamics keep us silent and marginalized, especially when race, ethnicity, and gender are factors. What can we do about it? Activist Kathy Khang roots our voice and identity in the image of God. Because God created us in our ethnicity and gender, our voice is uniquely expressed through the totality of who we are. We are created to speak, and we can both speak up for ourselves and speak out on behalf of others. Khang offers insights from faithful heroes who raised their voices for the sake of God’s justice, and she shows how we can do the same today, in person, in social media, in organizations, and in the public square.

 

Urban Spirituality: Embodying God’s Mission in the Neighborhood

by Karina Kreminski, Urban Loft Publishers

Do we have a positive theology of the city so that an urban spirituality can emerge from this place? We have for too long focused on quick fixes, pop up churches, and strategic solutions which have left us malnourished and emaciated, yet bloated from our over-consumption of these unsatisfying approaches. Spiritual formation is something that we need to pay closer attention to today. How do we live this kind of holy life in the city?

 

Finding Holy in the Suburbs: Living Faithfully in the Land of Too Much

by Ashley Hales, IVP Books

More than half of Americans live in the suburbs. Ashley Hales writes that for many Christians, however: “The suburbs are ignored (‘Your place doesn’t matter, we’re all going to heaven anyway’), denigrated and demeaned (‘You’re selfish if you live in a suburb; you only care about your own safety and advancement’), or seen as a cop-out from a faithful Christian life (‘If you really loved God, you’d move to Africa or work in an impoverished area’). In everything from books to Hollywood jokes, the suburbs aren’t supposed to be good for our souls.”
What does it look like to live a full Christian life in the suburbs? Suburbs reflect our good, God-given desire for a place to call home. And suburbs also reflect our own brokenness. This book is an invitation to look deeply into your soul as a suburbanite and discover what it means to live holy there.

 

Still Evangelical? Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning

by Mark Labberton (Editor), with contributions from Lisa Sharon Harper, Karen Swallow Prior, and Sandra Maria Van Opstal, IVP Books

Who or what is defining the evangelical social and political vision? Is it the gospel or is it culture? For a movement that has been about the primacy of Christian faith, this is a crisis. This collection of essays was gathered by Mark Labberton, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, who provides an introduction to the volume. What follows is a diverse and provocative set of perspectives and reflections from evangelical insiders who wrestle with their responses to the question of what it means to be evangelical in light of their convictions.

 

Voices Rising: Women of Color Finding and Restoring Hope in the City

by Shabrae Jackson Krieg and Janet Balasiri Singleterry (Editors), Sandra Maria Van Opstal (Foreword), Servant Partners Press

Voices Rising: Women of Color Finding & Restoring Hope in the City is a compilation of the stories of many women in mission. In these stories, themes of belonging, identity, calling, loss, and privilege emerge, outlining the difficulties in missions and challenging the image of this type of work by including new voices to help shape the narrative. Each author’s story of embracing her calling traces the discourse of intersectionality, margin, colonialism, and Scripture, aiming to invite and encourage others to participate in the mission of God within our world, and in whatever they may do.

 

Is your reading list comprised of all male authors? Check out these 15 books published in 2018 by women authors, because we all need to #ReadWomen. Click To Tweet

What books by female authors are shaping you as a leader?

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17 responses to ““I feel like I’m a project to you”

  1. David, I think the last two points you made are the strongest; people wanting friends and seeing the pastor as a “media figure”. Decentralized leadership is a great solution… but how does this play out in staunch denominations like Lutheranism, where the Pastorship is firmly established?

  2. David,

    Wow. I had someone say this to me this last week in our discipleship group.

    I would offer that this is a symptom of the immaturity of the post-Christendom generation. It’s a defense mechanism to wanting to grow up in our faith. There are so few elders who have nurtured the young.

    And I’m a postmodern.

  3. I think you’re right on with your assessment. I belong to the tail end of the boomer generation, but didn’t get involved in church until my 20’s. I still remember the day I showed up to work at a (relatively small) mega-church and everyone on staff kept asking me, “Have you met X (the senior pastor)?” with the same tone they might have asked, did I know Jesus. Not the guy I was going to run to with my personal struggles, that’s for sure!

  4. Yes, it is over for younger generations. So, it really does not matter if a group/denomination currently is hierarchical, that will change over time even for those groups. In other words, institutional expressions of church that do not change will disappear.

    “….real revolutions don’t involve an orderly transition from point A to point B. Rather, they go from A through a long period of chaos and only then reach B. In that chaotic period, the old systems get broken long before new ones become stable.” Clay Shirky in “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations”. We are at the front edge of the chaos period.

  5. David,

    I’ll take the challenge you set forth on the Next-Wave site, but I’ll do it here since it is lengthy. I’ll be glad to suggest why you are wrong. Please keep in mind this is 100% in the spirit of dialogue and I enjoyed your criticism of Brian. It is valid and worthy of discussion even while I disagree.

    1) Your entire argument is based on the notion that the “social gospel” (I’ll play along with your label for argument’s sake) has somehow failed. I suspect you’ve made this assumption because of the decline of mainline denominations in America and the rise of Evangelical churches in their place. This is an entirely different subject for a different day, but the reason for this phenomenon is strictly cultural not theological. It is about electric guitars, blue jeans, and overbearing irrelevant structure. It has nothing to do with theology. The majority of church attendants are theologically under-informed so assuming they’ve jumped ship for theological reasons is a product of poor analysis and an experiment executed without a control group to balance the evidence. Find me an Episcopal church that ditched the robes and brought in drum set but still failed and I’ll rethink my analysis. Otherwise, I see no reason to say the social gospel failed. It simply lost ground to a culture that favors cartoons over books. Over 40% of our nation still rejects evolution and I just had a conversation with a grown man that thinks global warming is a myth. Society rejected Jesus. It doesn’t mean he was wrong. This isn’t a popularity contest.

    2) Brian is right to differentiate between the message about Jesus and the message of Jesus, if only for the means of figuring out what they both are. When you mingle the two, you risk losing both, as Jesus would then become nothing but a mythical superhero and Christianity becomes nothing but believing he is really what the stories present him to be. We need both sides of the coin. We need the message of and the message about Jesus, but by separating them, we can see that they both point to the same thing. The message OF Jesus tells us squarely that the way of Empire is doomed to fail, but the way of non-violent protest through justice and mercy is our only hope. The message about Jesus tells us the same thing but ONLY when we realize it is a mythical narrative written by later followers meaning to retell the same message. It is a story about Jesus that shows us through creative dialogue, character development, and allegory, that this new way will win in the end. Even as we weep in the despair of defeat on Friday, there is a resurrection Sunday waiting for us. Jesus’ way non-violence, justice, forgiveness, and mercy will work. That is the “secret message”.

    3) I am a big advocate of the separation of church and state, however what you’ve suggested is the separation of Jesus and reality. I think you’ve implied (please correct me if I’m wrong in these implications) that the work of Jesus and the church is done in some other space than reality. (A spiritual realm or dream space?)

    4) You’ve implied that a transformed society isn’t any good if the church isn’t the institution that made the change. That seems horribly prideful. Why must the church be the only avenue for change? Wouldn’t we be more effective if people of all faiths including atheists band together for change? This is called a government.

    5) You’ve correctly identified past and present mistakes by governing bodies, but then you’ve made the assumption if a church did those things it would not make mistakes. You’ve assumed that because people running governments have been corrupt that government is therefore unable to do good work. I don’t think it is wise to draw those conclusions.

  6. I’m zigging back to your original post:
    Though I see it with my next gen friends (and my own young adult kids), I am in the same camp as those who’ve told Matt and other pastors, “I’m not your project”. I need spiritual friends who’ll walk through life with me. And friends don’t make other friends feel patronized.

    Perhaps this distaste of both Big Business ministry and CEO Pastors will bring us back to congregations with pastors who guide their congregation of friends first and foremost because of spiritual gifting.

  7. Thanks to everyone for the comments … I appreciate the feedback and thoughts … I’ve bee away for a few days at our denom.’s district meetings so I haven’t been able to respond. sorry. What I’d like to do quickly is respond to Mike l.’s comments concerning the Next Wave piece. Here goes some quick respones.
    Regarding #1. Your point is valid. Let me simply say however that I wasn’t referring to the decline of the mainline church when I was saying the “Social Gospel” had failed as a strategy. I was saying that indeed the social gospel had failed to make advances in the struggle against the social ills of poverty, violence and racism in our country. I could get into a protracted debate on this. There are certainly many voices who would say advances have been made. Maybe let’s say on racisim. Yet this country appears from other vantage points to be more racist, and the various minorities and the poor more enslaved to the forces of multi national corporatism, than ever before. Violence indeed is at an all time high. Yet, I admit, this too could be argued and I am willing to have this discussion, and ask why we might even have regressed as a country in these areas, precisely for the reason that the ethics of the kingdom in the church got subverted as a conceptual message by the powers and forces of the statist and corporatist enterprises. conference.Suffice to say for now, what you thought I was saying was the furthest thing from my mind. I do not consider the evangelicals as a church movement to have “won” over the mainliners in any way,shape or form. Some of my other writings make this clear.

    2.) Although I agree with some of your statments here, paticularly about the way of Jesus as non violence, I disagree with this assessment of the story “The message about Jesus tells us the same thing but ONLY when we realize it is a mythical narrative written by later followers meaning to retell the same message.” What do you mean by “mythical narrative”? And why would I assume the epistles (of say Paul) are more mythical than the gospels yet written earlier than the gospels? I’m not new to the study of hermeutics and the many ways we use the word” myth.” I’m just wondering how you’re using it?
    3.) I have no idea how you got this? I in fact am pushing for teh church to be the very concrete politic of Jesus.
    4.) Transformed to what? Whose justice? Are you assuming that there is a justice and a transformation that is apparent to all. What version of justice will all faiths including atheists be called to and how? If Brian wants to argue for a universally acessible justice for all, then he need not apal to Jesus. Am I right? But I don’t thik that is what he believes. He’s too postmodern for that (IMO).
    5.)I think this point is a good one. For the church’s trackrecord has its own problems to say the least. Nonethless, there are reasons I want to argue for the church as the means to bring in justice versus the government. The church is defined by its social embodimnet as the redeemed people called by God to spread justice via the work of God in the world. The government, especially liberal Western gioverments, in colusion with global capitalism by defintion have other motives. Justice eventually becomes subsumed in the quest for power and rofit.

    Mike l, Thanks for these excellenet challenges. I haven’t done them justice, yet would enjoy a protracted discussion of these issues
    Peace

  8. Great three points. This is a complex issue with no single explanation about the sense of being a pastral project.

    The two biggest modern models of the evangelical “pastor” are centered around the “professional” (not as in professional counseling) CEO and the Bible answer man (focused on expository or biblical preaching as the core discipline to address spiritual, emotional, and relational issues).

    As you know,, these “models” were not done in a vacuum–but in the modern context of distrust in any kind of friendship model with modern Protestant and evangelicals emphasizing a universal, “distanced” model of love (reaching the apex with Nygren) with a fear of “preferential” love and friendship.

    I think the older generation, as you say, is more comfortable with pastor addressing soul care issues.

    However, I think the younger generation is questioning even that issue–they are looking for friends–people who are wanting to form intentional community in relationships not professional appointments with a pastor about their struggles where the relationship “ends” (the appointments or phone calls end) once they work through a particualr problem.

  9. David,

    Thanks for the thoughtful response David. There is no doubt that we agree on many things. Unfortunately, in online discussions the differences are often the focus rather than the agreement. I don’t want you to think I’ve overlooked that aspect of the dialogue.

    1) I think there is ample evidence that progressive political/social movements have been the major contributing factor to civil rights as well as the development of a social safety net and the development of a middle class that cannot exist in a 100% market driven capitalist environment. This is true not just true in America, but also with the end of the British Empire affecting the freedom of millions of lives. I would suggest that it was the theological assertions of liberal faith across denominations and religions worldwide that proved as a catalyst for many improvements. MLK, Gandhi, Wilberforce, and many others are fine examples.

    I feel the decline of late in America (the last 30 years), is a result of the intentional injection of an anti-community and hyper-individualism approach to government and economics. The neo-conservative movements that started with Goldwater and took our nation captive in the 80’s created a propaganda blitz that resulted in mass distrust and a loss of faith in the concept of “we the people”. We are yielding the results of that mentality.

    2) Our difference in biblical literalism is probably too deep a topic for discussion here. I’ll simply say, I see the stories as mythical and not meant to be told as historically accurate. They obviously have historical elements, as do most myths. I didn’t say Paul was “more mythical”. What I mean is that Paul developed some theological assertions. The later Gospels put those assertions into narrative form by creating stories (including genealogies) to be retold in liturgical format and used to illustrate the meanings of Paul’s theology. The gospels are like screenplays written to articulate the growing theology of later generations of Christians. They reference the historical Jesus, but present a non-historical Christ. By seeing this we can come to understand the intentions of the authors.

    3) In this point, I was referencing your suggestion that Brian “left out” the literal wording of the Gospel’s metaphors (Jesus died to provide a victory over sin and that gets us into heaven). Instead, Brian talks about what the truths beneath the symbolic story rather than being stuck on the surface of the symbolic language. I think you feel slighted because Brian talked about the meaning without restating the metaphor. Am I correct? I don’t mean to put words in your mouth.

    4) The whole purpose of the bible from genesis to revelation is about the transformation of people and communities from selfishness to selflessness (dying to self in order to bring God’s will on Earth). You are right to suggest that Brian need not appeal to Jesus, he could appeal to a variety of evidence that point to this same need for transformation. But for me, this is the sign that I’ve seen. Jesus is my savior and Lord. I know no other way. Jesus was clear that it was not him, but what he points to, that is the reality we must accept even if Jesus is the only way we Christians know. I can’t speak for Brian on this. He has not made his views clear.

    5) I understand your issue here, but I don’t see how the church can bring justice. It can and should be a catalyst for justice, but do you really want a society where churches pass laws? Do you really want churches to operate as regulatory agencies? Churches can inspire us, provide incredible places for growth, community, and character development, but I think they need to stay out of the business of implementing justice. That is the role of governments.

    Again, thanks for the dialogue!

  10. Mike l
    It’s a shame we couldn’t get into this on the Next wave site … and I respect your diligence and sharpness here. I really want to say alot more. Do you live in Chicago area? We should have a coffee? eh?

    In lieu of being able to go whole hog I just throw some comments back at you. I learned my theology at the foot of Hauerwas and friends after the failure of both evangelical theology and liberal theology (having come from evangelical and still consider myself one) and studying at Northwestern wit the Garrett faculty there. So,my first reaction is that most of your assumptions I recognize from my past, and have gone through a deconstrsuction of sorts … and I hence offer a form of response that dissects what you say from Yoderian Hauerwasian, Milbankian, post liberal … and even worse .. Continental sources.. So I acknowledge my lenses . you know? And these lens may be unfair? But in shorts sentences .. here’s what I would say to your five statements above.
    1.) we’re simply not seeing it the same. Indeed, I wouldn’t view MLK, Wilberforce and Ghandi (who Yoder claimed got his pacifism from Jesus) as assertions of liberal (as in Western politcal liberalism)faith. Indeed, their force came from deliberate practices they learned from the church or derivative of the church. I know Ghandi would be very contested.
    2.) I gave up on all the pretensions of the modern socio scientific myth to gain objectiity over a text after I read Gadamer, and Ricoeur and the Derrida. Now I simply join a community of tradition which (by His Spirit) enables us to carry on our Narrative in faithfulness and reality. It’s what I have left (and its alot) after the demise of the pretension of scientific objectivity.
    3.) I’m sorry, but “gets us into heaven” is still weird to me. So we probably need to talk. But I think I know what you mean by metaphors, but truths beneath the symbolic language assumes too Cartesian non Wittgensteinian view of language? Have I got that right in any way?
    4.) “Jesus was clear that it was not him, but what He points to.” We disagree … but it definitely represents a point of view that has now a 100 year old heritage. But have you read Yoder? I’m just wondering.
    5.) I file these kind of arguments under “failure of imagination.” That’s the only thing I can say in less than ten paragraphs.

    Hey … I can’t respond in depth anymore … I’m buried til next Tuesday. But I’ll buy that cup of coffee, and thanks for coming on here and talking..
    Blessings …

  11. Thanks again. Your answers have been helpful. I’m in Augusta, Georgia so its a long commute for that cup of coffee. Maybe one day we will get to have that conversation. Words so often fail and this medium is no help to our cause.

    One thing I’m learning in more of these “emergent” conversations is that there is a strange connotation to the word “liberal” in which I’m completely unfamiliar. Maybe I’m too young and have never been a part of a mainline church, so I’m oblivious to the disdain it creates in people. The “L” word is tossed around and misused. For example, I’m shocked that you said:

    “Indeed, I wouldn’t view MLK, Wilberforce and Ghandi (who Yoder claimed got his pacifism from Jesus) as assertions of liberal (as in Western politcal liberalism)faith.”

    I agree that Ghandi got pacifism from Jesus, but it was through Leo Tolstoy that he found Jesus! Do you suggest MLK was not a liberal? Are you kidding? As for the others, calling for the end of slave trade in England and staging non-violent protests against Empire are a bit left of center, don’t you think? I have a hard time imagining those 3 men supporting Jerry Falwell or George W. Bush, so I’m not sure how you could see them as anything other than Liberals in both religious and political contexts. They each seemed to be fervent in their critique against the static views of the established dogma and structure while supporting open inquiry and placing a high value on reason and knowledge. That smells like Liberalism to me (a rose by another name…). There is a very strange misconception in emerging circles about what Liberalism is. I feel like this comes from having been told it is demonic somewhere in their Evangelical past, so now they want to embrace progressive values without using the “L” label. I know because I grew up the son of a southern Baptist minister.

    Yoder and Hauerwas seem to be overreactions to the dogma of the secular left that wanted to throw the baby out with the bath water. I feel there is a postmodern alternative that can embrace the wonderful contributions of modern secular liberalism without throwing out the core stories that are so dear to us all. The key is embracing rather than running from the word “Myth”. Both fundamentalists and secular liberals have disdain for myths as a result of their modern preoccupation with dogma and facts. Postmodern Christianity has a tremendous future if it can embrace the word myth and restore it as an important vehicle for truth.

    peace

  12. Mike … … I think you’re right … we are not using liberal(ism) in the same way. I think Jerry Falwell was a liberal … as long as we’re throwing around names. I agree postmodernity offers all sorts of new freedoms from past cages (enlightenment driven). But when I say liberal, I’m not talking so much about the political parties or the old liberal prot-versus evangelical fundamentalist diatribes … so perhaps we’ll return to this in another day … Blessings .. hope to meet along the way …

    Blessings David Fitch

  13. Ok, I’ve heard it all now… Jerry Falwell a liberal? Did have a conversion in the afterlife? I hope you explain that somewhere.

    I’m not sure how productive conversations can be if you veer from standard definitions of terms so drastically. It just complicates the whole communication process. You should at a minimum make those kinds of creative definitions public BEFORE the conversation gets so deep. Now I’m completely lost.

    You know, this is a perfect example of why I always answer, “it depends” when somebody asks me a question about faith. I’m never sure I know what they mean, so I have zero confidence they will interpret my answer correctly. I agree with Derrida when he puts a caveat on top of every caveat. I guess we have to do that.

    Peace (I hope by that you don’t think I’m suggesting a fight)

  14. Mike ..hah … ok .. I’m sorry … let me explain … I view Jerry Falwell as a liberal because he understands (understood)the world and salvation through the frameworks of enlightebnment individualism and the goods of freedom and democracy, as the way forward for America. These foundations form the basis also for mainline protestant Christainity. In fact, I view each one as different sides of the same coin.

    Peace … (in the best sense of the word)

  15. Wow! I feel like you’ve loaded up some personal baggage onto those terms that may not be grounded in reality.

    If your definition is what liberalism really was, then I don’t think there would be any liberals! For me it simply means a willingness to ask questions and seek understanding through critical analysis of the established structures and dogma. It means progress instead of the status quo. It is not so much a product of the enlightenment, but the reason for the enlightenment. It means the end of epistomology grounded ONLY in superstition and tradition.

    I agree with your “2 sides to the same coin” analogy. Both modern secularism and religious literalism/fundamentalism are poor responses to the enlightenment. Neither could come to grips with how to value their stories once they were discovered to be non-historical. Maybe something will emerge that salvages both the knowledge we gained from the enlightenment AND retains the value of our ancient myths.

  16. Two thoughts:
    I think the talk of doing away with institutionalized pastoralship works well in already deinstitutionalized churches, like megachurches who can mostly make up the rules as the go along or churches with a democratic polity. Simply put, I wonder if we are talking about the de-celebritizing of the megachurch clergy. This I buy.

    However, I’m not sure I buy that in a post-Christendom world, everything will lose its hierarchy and pastors/priests will lose their authority and the need for professional training will be no longer. I think liturgical churches, many of whom are thriving (though perhaps not “growing” in the numbers sense), will continue to value clergy as long as members continue to grow up in that denomination. That said, I kinda wish it wasn’t the case.

    Re: the failure of the Social gospel discussion. Since when should we measure the worth of a project, movement or mission based on its effectiveness? It sounds awfully *modern.* Even if the path of Jesus is futile, wouldn’t we still walk it because we believe it to be the right way to live? Just a thought.

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