The Emergent Trifecta

Emergent Village has partnered with Jossey-Bass for a series of books under the label “A Living Way: Emergent Visions,” with Tony Jones as the series editor. Mark Scandrette’s Soul Grafitti, published in 2007, was the first book in the series. I read Soul Graffiti last year and found it incredibly helpful. I have recommended it to many people, blogged about it, and declared it one of my favorite books of 2007. I’ll say it again – go buy this book. Or save five bucks and wait until June when it comes out in paperback.

This year marks the arrival of two more books in this promising series. In February Jones’ The New Christians released and in June A Christianity Worth Believing, written by Doug Pagitt, will hit shelves. I have had the opportunity to read both of these books over the past month or so, and I can definitely recommend both of them to anyone who is interested in further exploring the Emergent conversation.

The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier, despite its goofy cover, is an excellent introduction to all things Emergent. Tony Jones does a great job outlining many of the characteristics of an Emergent way of faith, while also providing an insider’s perspective on how much of the conversation began in the United States. This really is a must-read for anyone who is deep into the conversation, but is especially perfect for those who are new to the conversation and want to learn more about what it’s all about. In reading this book it’s important to acknowledge that it does primarily focus on the Emergent conversation in the United States. This is not a fault of the book, but must be acknowledged. For a more global perspective, or at least a perspective that includes the UK, one should read Emerging Churches by Gibbs and Bolger (another personal favorite, and a must-read).

A Christianity Worth Believing lives up to everything its subtitle promises (which is a lot) – it really does present a “Hope-filled, Open-armed, Alive-and-well Faith for the Left Out, Left Behind, and Let Down in us All.” To be honest, I was a little afraid Pagitt’s and Jones’ books would be too similar. I was completely wrong – they are both great reads, and are quite distinct from each other. This book is a great book for anyone in need of a more hopeful Christianity, a Christianity that doesn’t begin by telling us how we are such terrible sinners, but instead tells us the hopeful story of Jesus. Pagitt outlines a beautiful faith perspective, which is elucidated through many personal reflections and stories, which are at times quite moving. In short, this is a book for all of us. Don’t we all need to be reminded that the story of Jesus is a story about really, really good news? It was something I was very grateful to be reminded of.

So here’s the short of it, these three books are well-worth reading. And after you read the books, you can catch Mark, Tony and Doug touring the country this summer for their Church Basement Roadshow: A Rollin’ Gospel Revival – you wouldn’t want to miss an event with a name like that, right?!

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One Response

  1. until you said something, I hadn’t really noticed TJ’s book cover, what the?

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