Monday, January 06, 2003
liquid church is finally out - published in the usa by hendrickson and paternoster in the uk. it really is a fantastic book to contribute to the reimagining of church and mission in our current context. i hope it gets a wide reading. pete uses zygmunt bauman's notion of solid and liquid modernity to speak about solid and liquid church. he does a lot of theological work to underpin a new way of speaking about church. it seems to me that this new way of speaking is essential if 'language makes the world'. there are lots of things that i could highlight from the book but it really is the overall opening of discussion and imagining that is why this book is so welcome. to say that we need to re-imagine church or that it isn't working (for those outside it) or that it needs to change isn't news any more but there aren't many people who have offered the resources to help rethink the landscape. thanks to pete for offering us a way forward here.i fear it will be perceived as a threat by many who either have too much of a vested interest in church remaining solid or who see the invitation to engage with consumerism as selling out. change, mission and engagement with culture is always a risk but in my view it is one we have to take. pete's descriptions of three mutations that church has made in its solid form as heritage site, refuge, and nostalgic club are all too painfully visible. and the point about these is that whilst they may indeed be working as such for some people for many others they don't and they mitigate against mission. that is the whole point of why the whole thing of church needs rethinking - so many people involved in mission find the church bit the stumbling block. it's certainly true in youth ministry. pete doesn't offer any off the shelf solutions - it's more an opening up of discussion or imagination, but i hope that this does help open up new possibilites.