i am delighted to say that a new edition of the go between god by john taylor is out this weekend. it is a magnificent book on the holy spirit in mission. this is john taylor's best known book and scm have decided to re-issue it in the wake of imagining mission drawing attention to his work.
i have written the foreword to this edition which i was so happy to be asked to do. i confess i have never written a foreword before and found it quite a daunting thing to write for such a beautiful book. i hope i have done it justice but in the end who remembers a foreword anyway so i think i can relax - the task is to point to the book itself! do have a read if you have not come across it. here's one short excerpt from my foreword which highlights taylor's thinking about little congregations being a forerunner to fresh expressions perhaps?
In an extraordinary passage that foresees the fresh expressions movement, Taylor goes on to suggest that expressions of church should be as close to the life of people as possible. The ideal shape of church is that which provides the least possible withdrawal of Christians from life in the world. He envisages little congregations that are small enough for mutual awareness and large enough to embody the kingdom in their fellowship. These should not be seen collectively as a halfway house to draw people back into proper church or as an interim structure ‒ they are church. It is also the perfect place to share bread and wine round a coffee table without religiosity, the normal way the majority of Christians can make communion central to their lives. And with a sense of urgency he says he is not talking about twenty years’ time, but now. The Spirit is on the move at the growing edges, and the church should recognize it and make it easy for people by taking away red tape. Too many people view these little congregations as peripheral or subnormal, he says. He imagines the parish like a cathedral or a minster, gathering the varied smaller units so they are not too ingrown. But for him small is normative if the church is to respond to the life of the Spirit in the world. It is a truly remarkable chapter both in its imagining of what has come to pass and of the way the church has continued to struggle with the ‘sin of rigidity’, and we are fifty years on.