Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deep Church

For those who have a passion for “doing church” a different way, this book may be (“may be” not “is for sure”) for you.

There’s been debates raging in the past 10 years or so regarding whether the “traditional” church does church right or whether the “emerging” church does things right. I will write the rest of this mini-review without defining “traditional” or “emerging”, so you may need to ask questions or go research it. For a good starting point, you can go here.

I personally have benefited from both churches – “traditional” and “emerging”. I’ve never been part of an “emerging” church,* but resonate with many of the critiques (not the caricatures) of traditional churches (as if they can all be lumped together). On the flip side, I have also resonated with the “traditional” church’s critique (not the caricatures) of “emerging” churches (as if they can all be lumped together).

Jim Belcher in his book “Deep Church” does a great job, in my view, of showing some of the contributions and flaws of both types of churches. He doesn’t build “straw man” arguments and I can sense that he truly appreciates the contributions of the “emerging” folks and the “traditional” folks. He then goes on to propose a third way (emphasis on the article “a” as he is not proposing “the” third way – thank goodness). I found myself not always resonating with his proposed “third way”, but that’s okay it’s “a” third way not “my” third way.

So, before doing a few posts on the book, I thought I’d introduce this book to you (and commend it to you – if you’re interested in this sort of thing).

For a couple good reviews of it you can go here and here.

*Though I've never been part of an "emerging" church, I am currently involved in the small group of a "traditional" church where we have had the freedom to be on mission in our community for the sake of the Gospel (good news).  I don't call that "emerging" necessarily.  I call it in the words of Tim Chester "ordinary life with Gospel intentionality".

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