I've spent a good amount of time over the last several years reading about postmodernism and longing for something more when it came to the beloved community that we call the Church. This longing lead me into the wonderful discovery of the Emergent Conversation: a group of leaders, thinkers, believers, missionaries and activists that were asking some of the same questions I was and whose hearts seemed to long in unison after several common themes.
During this time I've read a good amount on Emergent and the emerging church. In fact I'm just in the process of rounding out Tim Keel's, Intuitive Leadership [BUY THIS BOOK]. As I was spending some time reading this evening it dawned on me that there are, I believe at least, three stellar books that together serve as a triune primer of the theology, philosophy, and eccelisology of the emerging church movement [and yes they also happen to all have been written by active leaders in the Emergent Conversation].
Doug Pagitt's A Christianity Worth Believing, dares to address almost the whole notion of a primary modern western understanding of Christianity in hopes of perhaps rediscovering it's primal roots; to tap into that vast rich history that serves as a spring board for future conversations, not the boundaries to which we must strictly abide by. Tony Jones' The New Christians, examines the current landscape of the modern church and asks, "could there be more here than simply what we have? Do the current structures work? Are they life giving or life taking?" And provides some startling and provoking conversation for how we might journey together into God's dream for humanity. Keel's, Intuitive Leadership evaluates the cultural and sociological shift that we are in the midst of and grounds it in the question how might we now live out the life of the beloved community together. Churches are no longer to be understood as program driven and compartmentalized but as holistic life giving communities wherein the participants can do life together as they seek to live out the kingdom of God in the way of Jesus.
Granted these are rather simplistic and all too brief and general summaries of each book; they each warrant their own reading. But together they, at least to me, seem to serve as a great primer to this emerging conversation about the future life of the beloved community and it's members.
All of these books are well worth their modest price!