on 23 October 2010
This is a new wine for the modern age from the vineyards' of Christian scripture and tradition. A Wine unlike other wines. The Wine of the "yet more." With hints of mysticism, feminism, spicy blackberry and vanilla. A full bodied, well balanced flavour which resonates with deep clarity and integrity. Biddington takes the fruits of his long standing service to the church and ferments a vision of discipleship which brings hope to all who can imagine "building inclusive communities of blessing."
What some may see as an acquired taste for both individuals and institutions to live at the "knife edge," of God's creative presence. A journey embracing the unknown, an exploration of "the God that is different from other gods." A wine that may sour the pallet if not imbibed from new wine skins yet perfect for the wedding feast of the relevance of Christianity to contemporary society.
Best enjoyed with jazz music, poetry or in communion with openness.
on 27 September 2010
I read this book today. I loved it.
I loved the questions for reflection.
I loved the idea of creation as something God is always doing from moment to moment; a process of unfolding. And therefore of life and faith as journey.
I loved the thought of God being more like a jazz musician improvising on our bum notes than a composer writing down beforehand everything that will be played. But it made me think of ecclesiology more than theology. What would a community of faith look like that didn't try to control itself like a conductor disciplining an orchestra to deliver music already composed, but responded to life innovatively like jazz musicians? And which celebrated the birthing of new things rather than keeping risk low?
I loved the constant refrain of the words 'dare' and 'imagine'; so often in juxtaposition.
I loved the bits of subversive exegesis lobbed in among the more orthodox stuff which serves to re-orient the whole message of scripture.
I loved the Alisonesque treatment of atonement and resurrection which was somehow clearer, more practical and better rooted in biblical imagery.
I loved the reference to The Matrix. I recall that it was based on Baudrillard's critique of consumer society as a simulacrum. Perhaps we can learn to both see reality and imagine responsibly.
I loved the idea of God's hidden presence; the 'yet-more' of darkness, and the 'as-yet-still-hidden' alternatives to be discovered.
I loved the constant emhasising of social justice, not just the individual 'spirituality'.
I loved the discourse on flourishing, and on the mutually creative desire at the heart of it.
I loved the hermeneutic of imagination; of 'portion' rather than 'passage'.
I loved the focus and practicality of the ten paths for going forward.
I didn't particularly love the americanisms but, hey, we won't blame Terry Biddington for that - we'll blame the idiot English publishers who didn't snap this gem up!
Biddington offers us a chronological and theme based exploration of our faith that seeks to engage with the diversity, depth and dance of God. This book takes as its starting point the reality of change, and it seeks to explore how the church may see change positively. It also seeks to help reinvigorate its teaching and ministry and the way in which Christians understand their spiritual journey. Change is seen not only as a welcome dynamic of the life of faith, but also as the very source of unexpected and transformative encounters with God and the transcendent.
Through a strong scriptural base, Terry Biddington challenges Christians to redirect their faith in a proactive and risky manner, akin to the way in which Jesus lived out his life on earth. Complacency and a lackadaisical cloud have overtaken the modern day church, leaving little room for active discipleship or pre-emptive religious ministry. Biddington utilizes biblical examples to weave together an attainable and encouraging image of what discipleship within the modern church looks like -- and it is risky business. A flourishing world is the scale of what we are invited to engage with. It is a rigorous, risky, exploratory, hope-filled discipleship for a discerning readership! A gem of a resource for individual use or study groups, this book holds pearls of wisdom that offer revitalization and change to those willing to receive it!