The Out of Bounds Church?

Last night I finished my first book that dealt with the emergent conversation. And it was interesting to say the least.

I had no idea what to expect when I began it. This one isn’t a very popular one, but it was a place to start (plus it was only a dollar or two to purchase it). I learned something about myself while reading this book. I’m very much a text person and I’m not sure that I identify very easily with the emerging “postmodern” mindset. Of course, this book didn’t even skim the surface of that conversation, really, so what do I even know.

Onto the book…

The purpose of the book was to expose the reader to some cool things going on around the world in local churches- mostly having to do with philosophy of church or creative elements in the church gathering.

One concept that really stuck out to me was the idea of the church leadership acting as a spiritual guide in the worship gatherings– thinking creatively about moving someone from being a recreational tourist (observing only) to an experimental tourist (tasting and seeing) to a existential tourist (becoming a part of the culture, or in this case, body of believers). How can we help people become more comfortable and become more and more integrated into our church communities?

One creative element that I liked was “culture samplers”. This is when we take pieces of songs, paintings, old hymns, images, photos of cultural ideas, and putting them all together to make a mosaic of something redemptive. Or it can be one of the elements (a song that is in culture and mixing it with some biblical principles or discussion). In order to do this missionally (and not just for entertainment-sake), he gives these principles:
1. It is unbiblical to be removed from our culture or to ignore the way culture communicates.
2. Remix live. Invite people into it.
3. It is also unbiblical to be the same as culture. aka, don’t mimic. embrace culture for transformation sake.
4. DJ-ing allows multiple responses along the everyday edges of our lives.
5. DJs never forget their relationship with the community.
6. DJs should sample with authenticity. aka, don’t take secular songs and make them say things they don’t really say. if the artist who wrote or sang the song wouldn’t agree with your interpretation, it’s not authentic.
These are just 2 ideas in the book- one philosophical and one dealing with creative elements- that stuck out to me that I really enjoyed.

Like any book on the emerging church, there were parts I disagreed with. One big thing was the difference between the value of individualization and community. Of course both are needed to an extent, but this author argued that post-moderns really want to be separate from others (and to be recognized as separate, an individual), as opposed to being fused into a common community. Preferring individualization over communalization. I know for me this isn’t the case, and from past things I’ve read, I was under the impression that the case was just the opposite. But one thing the author emphasized (which makes all of this much better), is that we are on the fringes of a significantly-changing culture, and some dumb things are always said on the fringes of every significantly-changing thing. And that’s okay. And it is okay.

Overall it made me think critically and creatively. It pushed my reading envelope a little, which is always a beneficial activity.

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