In Deep Church, Belcher brings the best insights of all sides to forge a third way between emerging and traditional. In a fair and evenhanded way, Belcher explores the proposals of such emerging church leaders as Tony Jones, Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt. He offers measured appreciation and affirmation as well as balanced critique. Moving beyond reaction, Belcher provides constructive models from his own church planting experience and paints a picture of what this alternate, deep church looks like--a missional church committed to both tradition and culture, valuing innovation in worship, arts and community but also creeds and confessions.
- Feels like he wrote it for me
Originally published on my blog at bookwi.se
I have followed the debate over the Emerging church for quite a while. In general I have agreed with many of the criticisms that the Emerging church has had with the traditional church, but I have not always agreed with the resulting prescriptions of where to go after the criticism.
Jim Belcher, it seems, wrote Deep Church particularly for me. I have witnessed both in books and among my friends the breakdown that occurs when people start talking about Emerging church issues. It seems that both groups are talking a different language and have a hard time actually understanding and dealing with the legitimate issues that other side brings up.
Belcher does a better job than any other book I have read at really putting onto paper the issues of both sides in a way that is honest and fair to their point. And even more important, I think both sides would agree he hits their main points without condescension.
The book takes the seven main concerns that are similar across most of the Emerging church and then looks at them from both the Emerging and Traditional side and then attempts to find a third way that is more than just compromise between the two.
I do not agree with all of Belcher’s suggestions for a third way, but that is less important to me than the fact that he puts on paper some real options and gets the discussion going.
If you are frustrated with the traditional church but are not completely thrilled with the Emerging church, or if you really do not get what the issues are between the Emerging and Traditional church, you need this book. It is a little over 200 pages and well worth the time.
- Jim Belcher does a fine job...
Jim Belcher does a fine job of bringing to light the shortcomings of both traditional and emerging models of Christianity in his book, Deep Church. Although, his attempts at posturing a balanced, unbiased approach are lost when it becomes clear that all of his solutions just happen to be found within the life of his own church. Some will say that the emerging church proponents lose in this book. I'd argue that the real loser's are Anabaptists who get several cheap shots taken throughout the book. That said, this is certainly the most fair critique of both sides, simultaneously, in print right now. If you're hoping for an overview of the emerging church conversation and the concerns of their opponents within the Church, this is the book. Sean Runnette's narration is smooth and solid. Some will find it a little slow, but still pleasant to listen to.