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Luke Bretherton is Associate Professor in Theological Ethics and a Senior Fellow of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. Before joining Duke he was Reader in Theology & Politics and Convener of the Faith & Public Policy Forum at King's College London. He has worked with a variety of faith-based NGOs, mission agencies and churches around the world, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe. His first book, Hospitality as Holiness: Christian Witness Amid Moral Diversity (Ashgate, 2006) explores the churches response to moral pluralism in critical dialogue with Alasdair MacIntyre's moral philosophy and develops a constructive, theological response to the issues identified using euthanasia and the hospice movement as a case study. His recent work has focused on faith-based organizations, the church's involvement in social welfare provision, the treatment of refugees, community organizing and fair trade. That work is drawn together in Christianity & Contemporary Politics: The Conditions and Possibilities of Faithful Witness (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), winner of the 2013 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing. When living in the United Kingdom, he was actively involved in politics as part of London Citizens, a broad-based community organization, and had a role advising the government on strengthening civil society. His most recent book is entitled Resurrecting Democracy: Faith, Citizenship and the Politics of a Common Life (Cambridge University Press, 2015) is based on an ethnographic study undertaken as part of a three-year Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project for which he was principal investigator (2008-2011). The book addresses debates about the relationship between democratic citizenship, religious beliefs and practices, and the power of money.
About the Author
Andrew Walker is Canon Professor of Culture, Theology and Education at King's College, London; Luke Bretheton is Lecturer in Theology and Ministry, and DMin Programme Director at King's College, London
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Like its predecessors, including the definitive 'Charismatic Renewal: The search for a theology' this is a thoughtful, timely and well argued analysis of contemporary Christian spirituality. The 'Deep Church' emphasis is a welcome one for anyone disenchanted with the faddish and often 'theology-lite' approach that characterises many aspects of popular evangelicalism and the charismatic renewal.
I suspect it'll end up preaching to the converted, though. There are an impressive range of contributors and, in keeping with the authors' intentions, many of them are drawn from the ranks of the do-ers and the practitioners - church leaders, ministers, pastors etc. - as well as the academics and the reflective thinkers. We need both of course. Whilst I found that the analysis resonated well with me I was left wondering what I could actually do to work out some of the issues raised. More practical examples and suggestions would have been welcome.
As with other books written or edited by Andrew Walker, it's very eirenic. It's difficult to see how mainstream Christians from any tradition other than extreme radical liberalism or extreme fundamentalism could argue with its central thesis. So whilst I found myself nodding my head in agreement I also found myself wondering, 'Well, what do I do now?'
It's a book that would certainly repay repeated readings. It provides no quick-fix solutions or easy answers and avoids negative stereotyping and a strident tone. A more polemical note might not have gone amiss in some sections, but then a trumpet-call to occupy the radical centre, although welcome and well-intentioned, isn't going to attract as much attention as it deserves. I'd make it compulsory reading for church leaders, though. We need 'Deep Church'. We need depth. The contributors are clearly living that out.
But why are they all male? Some female contributions wouldn't have gone amiss.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
An Insightful and Timely Book on Church25 April 2009
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The collection of essays the forms the book Remembering Our Future stems from a conference consisting of charismatic evangelical Anglicans. The participants of the conference and authors of the essays seek to creatively forge a way to the future by remembering the past. They hope for the way forward to include the charisma of the Holy Spirit and a solid theology that addresses the pastoral and spiritual needs of Christians in their ordinary experiences. The vision of the authors is described by the term "deep church." For them, deep church incorporates the best of Christian tradition in pastoral methods that fully engage the emerging culture. Deep church is a commitment to what Walker calls a "thick or maximalist" form of Christianity. (2)
The authors individually and collectively urge readers to recover the deep structures of the Christian faith that predate divisions in Christendom and convey a rule of faith, traditions and spiritual disciplines that are means, not obstacles, of grace for the entire body of Christ. In deep church, the institutional and charismatic natures of Christianity coinhere productively to build up a distinct community that is conformed to the image of Christ while bearing witness to him in contemporary society.
The authors of the book express several cohesive themes of deep church. These include the significance of the historical tradition of Christianity to contemporary church, the need to reemphasize Christian community, an appeal to develop more intensive processes of Christian formation and a recovery of shared charisma in worship and ministry. These themes are discussed more fully. Through all of them, the authors continually point the need of sound theology that is based on not only present interpretation of scripture but on the historic memory of the church beginning with the apostolic traditions of the early church.
Walker seeks for evangelicals to reexamine the roles of liturgy of word and sacrament, set prayers and collects and lectionaries that have roots during the most charismatic and spontaneous eras of the church. The liturgy must be inhabited by the Holy Spirit who is welcomed and recognized as the present Lord of the gathering. Cocksworth and Stackhouse provide teaching on Spirit-filled and empowered worship in the liturgical tradition. This is a catholic and charismatic form of worship with roots in the gospel and early church. For deep church, there is no required choice between life-less liturgical worship or modern formless worship.
This is a great introduction to "deep church" and where the Lord might be trying to lead the contemporary church.
Craig Stephans, author of Shakespeare On Spirituality: Life-Changing Wisdom from Shakespeare's Plays
An excellent thoughtful book25 Jun. 2008
M. A. Lafler
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The book discusses the similarities between the Charismatic movement and the Emerging church movement as it gives suggestions on how to reach a true deep church (see C. S. Lewis). I appreciated the analysis and approach of explaining the benefits of a liturgy while not discounting the benefits of a more "free-style" church service. The book also gives fresh ideas in church relations with the rest of the world. This book would be helpful for anyone who has thought about what it means to be a church in postmodernity.