Reimagining the Church's Mission from the Outside, In
Available for pre-order. Publication date: 30/11/2020.
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21st Century Britain is a fragmented, anxious place, grappling with its loss of national identity in 'the ruins of empire', and with sharp and deepening inequalities - symbolized most tragically by the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower. To these national anxieties are added the pressures of church decline: numbers, money and influence all seem to be heading in the wrong direction. Common responses include on the one hand strategizing for numerical growth, and on the other hand focusing in on the Church's formation of Christians for our discipleship in the world. This book ventures to suggest that both of these responses miss something of profound importance.
Through careful and unsettling readings of five passages in Mark's gospel, alongside stories from a multicultural outer estate in east Birmingham, the book paints a vivid picture of an 'alternative economy' for the Church's life and mission, which begins with transformative encounters with neighbours and strangers at the edges of our churches, our neighbourhoods, and our imaginations.
From the feisty Syro-Phoenician and the women who hear Jesus' final cry, to a Community Passion Play and the friendships made at 'The Real Junk Food Kitchen', via the provocative encounters that bring the film The Full Monty to its climax, we trace a journey that interrupts the Church's normal flow, with a breaking-in from the outside of the "Kin-dom" of God - with radical implications as much for the Church's worship as for its mission.
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