So I saw this book was coming out this year and I knew I would want to read it. Of course, I also thought,"Dang, they stole my idea!". I didn't know I would laugh so much. I'll be writing as I read through the book. It's ideas are pretty much what a lot of us have felt about the Emerging Church movement/conversation. It begins with a little bit of a bio for both authors. One is a pastor from Michigan and the other a sports journalist. They begin by acknowledging that not everyone will agree with their assesment, but are open to correction and strive to be respectful.
I appreciate the approach, because if we are going to disagree with our brothers and sisters in Christ, it should be done in a Christ honoring way. And yes, it is possible. They continue with what it is they find hard to swallow in the church. The fact that there is no statement of faith, leaders and so forth however can be dealt with. If you have a group of people who agree with each other, endorse each other and have similar rants against the church (that are being podcasted, printed and preached) you generally have similar ideas that can be critiqued. It isn't scholars doing the critiquing, but ordinary guys who love the Lord and his church.
The first thing dealt with is the idea of journey in the Christian life. Indeed, in our culture, it's all about the journey. Not the destination! Of course we don't live that way. i don't get out of bed and meander around with no particular place to go. Likewise in classic thinking and in the Bible, a journey has a definite end. In the emergent church, we see an affinity for the contemporary idea that it's all about the search. It's paraded around as a mark of humility.
I remember recently reading about Paul Washer dealing with a man in Spain who quoted a famous philosopher of theirs who taught that truth must be sought but never found. Indeed Washer replied that he knew why. If he ever found it, it would mean that it would have a demand on their life. In the book, one of the author's meets with a church guitarist who tells him that in music circles, it's cool to search for God, but not to find him. It is this idea that pervade a lot of modern Christianity.
The other idea that underlies this notion that truth can't be found is that we humans are in a sense speculating about God. To be certain is to not have God at all. But this assumes that God can't tell us about himself. If it isn't possible, how can we know who we are really loving? How can we know if they love us back? In the popular tale of the blind men and the elephant, all they can do is guess as to what they are touching. But the author's suggest, what if the elephant started to talk and tell them what he was?
As I finish , I wanted to leave you with a few quotes lines and ideas I gleamed from the first few chapters:
We're plodding visionaries trying to learn the Bible, love one another, share the gospel and worship God in spirit and in truth.
Heaven is the recreation of the entire cosmos.
It's cool to search for God, but not to find him.
My idea: God is there, but he's not just there, he's everywhere! (one of the criticisms in the book is that transcendence is places against immanenced and thus God is so far away you can't see him-which is an idea that John Frame points out in his fine books)
You "know" those you love.
Paul didn't say,"I see you worship an unknown God. Great! So do I."
I'll have a the next few chapters in soon.