yesterday i was given a grove booklet - the road to growth less travelled by david runcorn. tim dakin, general secretary of cms was giving them away as he thought it was so good. tim is always enthusing about books and i've found several gems through his recommendations. the subtitle is spiritual paths in a missionary church. and yes it is a gem.
it's a real surprise, almost a relief, to find a book on the spirituality of mission that doesn't exhaust you in its ehthusiasm and hype. he suggests that the sea changes in culture have left the church bewildered and that the language and theme of exile might give some clues in the quest for a sustaining spirituality. how do we find depth when the temptation is for quick fixes or relevance? i loved this quote he writes from henri nouwen - i am deeply convinced that the christian leader of the future is called to be completely irelevant.
his five marks of spiritual growing are:
a way of loss
a way of darkness
a way of not knowing
a way of waiting
a way of the least
that gets real. he then draws on the work of mark yaconelli (whose work i have enthused about at length before) to suggest a contemplative way will help us recover a deep love for the world in which we live which is at the heart of mission.
that' a hasty sketch. i was struck last week by a conversation i had with a friend who is retired - he is in his sixties. he is a loyal, committed, faithful, evangelical (and fairly conservative at that), church going christian and has been for decades. he is the kind of person who is a backbone of a local church. he told me he was bored with church and quite a few of his friends were too. we're more at sea than we admit. i'll lend him this book. it may offer some clues...
if you haven't come across them grove books are shortish booklets (around 8000 words) turned round pretty quick on theology in a number of themed series - bible, ethics, spirituality, worship, evangelism, pastoral, renewal, youth.