Sunday, September 24, 2006

Michael Schwartzentruber, ed., The Emerging Christian Way, 2006. Contributions from Marcus Borg, Tim Scorer, Tom Harpur, Thomas Berry, Sallie McFague, Matthew Fox, Bruce Sanguin, Anne Squire, Bill Phipps, Mack MacLean, Bruce Harding, Susan Burt, Donald Grayston, Nancy Reeves, and the editor.

This is a decent collection of essays. It's one of those books that didn't particularly grab me, because I've read chunks of most of these authors before, and none of them really said anything new or dramatic--which is only to be expected, given that many of these pieces have been previously published elsewhere.

I enjoyed Borg's piece more than most of his books that I've read, perhaps because it articulates quite clearly a vision for which I have great sympathy, of faith-in-action, working to bring about the reign of God.

Harpur was Harpur, talking about the historic creeds as stumbling blocks, and the need for creeds more based on a faith that stresses the nature of our relationship with God as transformational. I thought that his offering of a new creed was weak, though he is clear that it's only a starting point. (A better couple of possible starting points, to my mind, can be found in the New Zealand prayer book.) Matthew

Fox's piece struck me as self-serving and egocentric. Bill Phipp's essay was quietly interesting, and worth further thought.

Grayston's thoughts on pastoral care--and really, about faith development--might well be the best thing in the book.

All in all, it's a spotty collection. It's one of those books to dip into, to get myself thinking, but not something that offers a lot of framework or leading ideas, nor really, anything but the questions I bring.