Thursday, August 28, 2008

The New Christians - Tony Jones

I picked this up at Greenbelt and have been really enjoying it. It's a highly personal account (there is no other kind, he would say) of the development of the Emergent section of the emerging church. It is fairly US-centric, although it does acknowledge that there are emerging churches in other parts of the world. It's a very readable mix of personal story, sociological analysis, theology and stories of other emergent people. My only complaint so far is that it does that annoying thing of putting text that is already in the text in a box, for marketing purposes I guess. I'm sure postmodern people can cope with a book that doesn't have gimmicky text boxes and other pictures littered throughout the text.

I haven't read much that I have disagreed with so far. Jones paints a picture of the american church and political scene in terms of left and right and suggests that emergent hovers somewhere above the middle. He is clearly a post if not anti-foundationalist, but I have not yet gathered just how thoroughly postmodern his epistemology is and how he avoids the charge of relativism. In other words, what aspects of postmodernity does he critique and on what basis.

Every now and then there is a 'dispatch', which is a (dare I say) proposition of what emergent folk represent. I thought I might blog through some of these, along with some other highlights/reflections. Read Tall Skinny Kiwi's review.


tony said...

Hi Jon. Glad you like it so far...

Jon said...

Wow! Thanks Tony. I think it's the best book I've read so far on emergent. I really appreciate the way you present complex theological and epistemological issues in a highly readable way. Things are not quite as polarised over here on either the theological or the political spectrum. As an open evangelical training for ministry in the Church of England, so much of what you write just makes sense to me.