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.