The numbers of people attending church are declining. Churches are closing and the influence the church once had in society is waning. The natural response is to immediately look for solutions to the problems. However, finding appropriate solutions depends on a correct understanding of the problem.
In ‘At Home in Exile’, Peter McDowell shows how the experience of exiles in the Old Testament can provide a way for the church to understand its current experience of marginalisation. The feelings associated with the three stages of the exile experience resonate with our current experience. The first stage is entering exile, and has associated feelings of shock and denial. The second stage, being in exile, has feelings of anger and depression. The third stage, departing from exile, is associated with acceptance and integration.
There is much talk today of 'new ways of being church' and 'new monastic spirituality'. As Simon Reed explored the Celtic roots of the Christian faith, in community with others who drew inspiration from our spiritual ancestors in the British Isles, he came to realise that the third-millennium church has much in common with the first-millennium church and, more importantly, much to learn from it.
In Creating Community, he introduces us to a new but at the same time very old way of being church which is based upon three core elements: A Way of Life, a network of Soul Friends, and a rhythm of prayer. The book shows how the rediscovery of these elements by Christians today offers a vital key that opens up an ancient way for modern churches, one that not only helps to bring believers to lasting maturity but creates genuine and much-needed community in an increasingly fragmented world.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the now famous theologian who was martyred by the Nazis in 1945, wrote this book on the eve of World War II. It resulted from his experience as head of a semiary of the German 'Confessing Church' at Finkenwalde near Stettin. Here many of the pastors who witnessed against Hitler received their inspiration. It was, as Professor John D. Godsey points out in his study of The Theology of Deitrich Bonhoeffer, 'a kind of theological education that was startlingly new in Germany: a communal life in which Jesus Christ's call to discipleship was taken seriously.' Professor Godsey calls Life Together 'simply written, powerfully convincing and unusually quotable...It is an attempt to give practical guidance to those who want to take their lives as Christians seriously.'
In this short and eminently readable book, Ian Adams captures the essential genius of the monastic tradition and combines it with his own experience as poet, family man and abbot of a 'new-monastic community' to address the dis-ease of so much of our contemporary ways of living. His books gives simple practical inspiration for 'ordinary living' and re-calls monks and nuns, friars and sisters to the passion of their founders as it asks: 'How did the dynamic way of the passionate, scandalous re-imaginer Jesus give way to so much that is pointless, repressed and safe?'
Abbot Stuart Burns OSB
Ian skilfully opens up the Christian contemplative tradition in a grounded and accessible way for today's spiritual seeker. In an age when many are spiritually hungry, Ian opens up the Christian tradition in a way that is dynamically spiritual and authentically religious. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is seeking to establish a deep Christian faith and practice that can thrive in the complexity of the modern world.
Ian Mobsby, priest missioner to the Moot Community, London
With a sensitivity to the Christian tradition and a rich understanding of postmodern thought, Peter Rollins argues that the movement known as 'emerging church' offers a singular, unprecedented message of transformation that has the potential to revolutionise the theological and moral architecture of the Western Church. Keeping this in mind, How (Not) to Speak of God sets out to investigate the theory and praxis of this contemporary expression of faith via an exploration that is firmly anchored in the liturgical practice of the widely acclaimed post-secular project Ikon. In so doing, Peter Rollins not only offers a clear analysis of this embryonic movement, bu also provides key resources for those actively involved in developing these communities around the world.