What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Book Review: Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional

Every so often every where I turn the same book is being discussed, read, or talked-up by people that I respect. When that happens, I take it as a strong hint that I should pick it up, too.

Unless it's the "Left Behind" series, "Twilight," or anything else that I categorically know is stupid. But then again, part of the reason why I listen to said people is that they would categorically reject anything that is categorically stupid.

Anyway, I've had just such an experience over the past couple of weeks with a book called "Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional" by Jim Belcher.

Christianity Today gave it an award, a pastor at All Saints was reading it, the president of InterVarsity recently recommended it and my boss just read it and said it was excellent. And hey, I gotta' suck up to the boss.

So I started reading it yesterday, and it is fantastic. Belcher tells his story of being dis-satisfied with the super-traditional church that has been so formed by Enlightenment thinking. Then he tells of his journey through the Emerging/Emergent church crowd and his subsequent dissatisfaction with those folks as well.

Eventually he plants his own church, a Presbyterian Church (PCA) which is aiming to take the best of both worlds.

Belcher's strength is his ability to walk us with him in his journey as he engages both Emerging types and Traditionalists. He takes complicated worlds and boils them down without over-simplifying them.

Belcher does an excellent job of critiquing each side of the church wars while eagerly spotting the redemptive aspects present in both. And he is eager for reconciliation where there has been division. In the end, Belcher tends to lean more traditional, but without jettisoning much that he has learned from the Emerging crowd.

I'm only half-way through it, but I'd commend this book to anyone who's wondering about church, confused about church trends, in between churches, or in a process of re-evaluation.

If you're not a Christian, this book might be a little too insider-family-squabbles for you...or it might give you a sense of what the church currently is (warts and all) and just maybe a peek at what it could be.

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