Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Shape of things to come

This is my 2nd post I should have posted earlier, but I had not. I finished "The Shape of things to come" reading in January and published a detailed revision in my Brazilian Blog (it took 4 posts to publish an overall idea of the book and a revision of the writers purposes of an Incarnational, Missianic and Apostolic church). I think it would be useless to have such a detailed approach of this book here, once this book was well accepted in international emerging church community and you will find better reviews like mine in blogosphere. Though, I would like to share what those ideas means in our brazilian field.
The importance of this book besides, Emerging Church, is that it paves a good way of what our churches should seek when emerge. After reading both, I think Emerging Church as a very good report of how churches have been emerged in US an UK while, this book describe the basis below Emerging Churches practices.
Actually I am starting Michael Frost's "Exiles" reading, after read all Alan Hirsch's "The Forgotten Ways". It is clear to note that all three book's ideas are constructed on a thesis that while the Christendom mode of society is shadowing, our mode of church is shadowing by the same way, thus we need a new kind of church out of the dominance box that started when Constantine declared Christianism as the official religion of all Rome. I think that is important to have clear that church has not started from these ideas on, I had already saw some early brazilian criticism to Emerging Church that they considered Christian Church as lost from Constantine until now, off course based on misread emerging church books and purposes.
I think that the Christendom mode detailed by Hircsh and Frost applies very much to evangelical church in Brazil, it has been very Attrational, reflected, for instance, by use of media with preching all day in christian Radio and TVs as a way to invite people to attend services and being blessed, all strategies you see is related to have people coming to the church bounds to be part of them; our church has been very dualistic, when they build a kind of paralell christian world where the label "gospel" tells what would be good for christian people to use and has been also very hierachic when the first thing that all churches do, is to establish who owns the power and a very well career plan of how to get it. With our evangelical growth we started to have a kind or post-evangelical people frustrated by evangelical church promises not fullfilled.
We have a great challenge to break this kind of religion culture, though people are very free to express their spirituality here, their have been more exposed to express that through spiritualism. They have been exposed nightly to those ideas on TV Soap Operas besides post modernism ideas. But when they go search for spirituality out of spiritualism and budhism they will appeal to a church closed to Catholic culture (a church even more attrational, dualistic and hierarchic), where most of people got the idea of religion when growing up. Yes, they will remain frustrated as long as they find another way of doing church.
Hirsch and Frost ideas are indeed great solutions to our day, church as it is now will remain just beside our culture, we will need just good people dare enough to have this kind of thinking outside the box and starting making difference. The fact is that we have seen lots of discussions about emerging churches in Brazil, but we have not seen any practical idea because we have seen only discussions. We need concrete examples of emerging communities to foster other examples, so far we have few ones and not enough to establish a good idea of what an emerging church should be in Brazil.
I think this book should be a good source to give us a way to begin.

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