Thursday, July 15, 2004

by Spencer Burke
pub. Zondervan, (C) 2003, 173 pages

Comments: In this book, Spencer Burke takes a look at the emerging church/postmodern church discussion, via posts from theOoze and an offering of new metaphors for leadership (tour guide to traveler), learning (teacher to facilitator), spiritual growth (hero to human), ministry (consumer to steward), missions (retailer to wholesaler), faith (adversary to ally), and evangelism (warrior to gardener). I leave this book with two important ideas. First, unpacking the church means getting back to the essential nature of the church as Jesus intended it, stripping away the cultural adornments. Second, before beginning the search for new metaphors for the church I need to think through a metaphor for myself. Rather than describing myself as student, college director, musician, whatever, I need a metaphor--a picture of myself that moves among my various contexts. Here's what he says,

"As I think about what it will take to move forward in our spiritual journeys, I think self-awareness will be key. Before we can change the church (or even the metaphors of the church), we need to understand who we are as individuals and what we bring to the table" (p. 164).

I would only add that we also need to go back to the New Testament and understand the metaphors of church in their original historical-cultural context. Such an understanding will lead us toward an understanding of the central nature of church.


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