Friday, December 24, 2010

history and praxis of the emerging church in New Zealand

I’ve just sent off another book chapter, 3,600 words, on the history and praxis of the emerging church in New Zealand. I define the emerging church fairly broadly, as

experimental innovation that seeks to take forward the mission of God. It assumes a missional pneumatology, in which experimental innovation occurs in response to the Wind of the Spirit, who blows inside and outside the fences of church and culture

Kiwi listeners will hear echoes in the last sentence of Baxter’s Song to the Spirit, and I quote selections from the poem throughout the chapter in an attempt to provide a contextually Kiwi feel.

This is part of my conclusion:

In this chapter five expressions of the emerging church in New Zealand have been explored. In making waves, through Spirited Exchanges, in offering faith on-line, through house churches and in installation art, there has been a history of innovation, along with a challenge to existing church structures regarding their ability to engage in effective partnership with experimental mission.  A number of stories, clustered around themes of worship, community, mission and leadership, have also been told. Together these stories suggest that the emerging church in New Zealand has neither accepted the cultural quo nor chosen to become an alternative sub-culture. Rather, it has sought culture-making transformation, whether of the internet, or of city squares, or of networks, or among the urban poor.

This, as with all missionary encounters, raises the vital question as to “faithful transmission” as the Word seeks to become flesh in ever-changing cultures. In New Zealand, such a mission question becomes specific around the challenge of dwelling Incarnationally among “postmodern cultures” of choice.

It is for a book in honour of Eddie Gibbs, of Fuller fame, which surveys the emerging church around the globe. Given that US-centric nature of so much “emergent” stuff, the concept of the book is a wonderful breath of fresh air.

It brings to seven the pieces I’ve submitted for publication in this calendar year. An encouraging note on which to finish, despite all the changes and dislocation of the year past. As with all things being published, the act of submitting, simply means I’ve done what I can and it’s now in the hands of editors and publishers. Which is never guaranteed, especially in the current fiscal climate! Still, it’s good to be able to do what I can. For those interested, the seven pieces are

  1. A more academic article on reading the Jacob narrative in Genesis using migrant eyes, for a book on theologies of land.
  2. A more popular piece on emerging church, Uniting Church, for a publication called Cross Purposes.
  3. A commissioned piece on Reaching Young Adults, for Australian Leadership.
  4. A more academic article, evaluting the birth narratives of the emerging church, for Anvil, a UK Anglican journal, as part of their February 2011 re-launch.
  5. A book chapter, for a book engaging with the work of theologian Sarah Coakley, in which I suggest the need for a conversation between her and U2′s live performances of Mysterious Ways
  6. A (above mentioned) chapter on the history and praxis of the emerging church in New Zealand.
  7. Never sure whether to count this, and if I do, whether to count this together, or separately. It’s certainly not academic. But every month I write a (commissioned) 500 word film review for Touchstone. Over the year, that adds up to 5,500 words. Which is quite a lot actually.

So that’s the year. Having met these commitments, it means holidays. Bring on the summer!

Posted by steve at 01:04 PM

1 Comment

  1. Well done Steve. It’s been a big year in so many ways for you all. Enjoy the break and being back at your Turangawaewae… All the best to the four of you for 2011.

    Comment by Paul Fromont — December 26, 2010 @ 6:24 am

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