holidays over

ah well, the half-term is over so we are back to business. which explains why I'm up at 6.30 in the morning about to go for a swim.

I've managed to do some reading this week and found myself completely engrossed in Brian McLaren's 'The Story We Find Ourselves In'. I know, I'm probably a little bit late to the table with the Brian McLaren stuff, but there we go. 'The Story We Find Ourselves In' is the second book of the trilogy that starts with 'A New Kind of Christian' - it was a little bit controversial in the States a few years ago - and in the backwards way that I sometimes do things, I'm reading 'A New Kind of Christian' now.

I have to say that I find it compelling reading, even with all the hype that probably now surrounds it because it's all a few years old and 'emerging church' has rapidly become the label that those having the 'emerging conversations' were desperate for it not to become. Still, compelling in all the right ways for me.

McLaren describes his trilogy as 'creative non-fiction', a way of writing which I understand - the characters themselves are fictional, but the conversations that they have are drawn on many years of real conversations of that nature that McLaren has been a part of or heard, or had in his own head. He creates a space for us to join the conversation, because he doesn't hold back on the doubts that we all have when we start these conversations in our own heads - this is not an apologetic exercise for emerging church, but rather an invitation to join a conversation.

and in that I wonder if there is a continuity with the hope that I have that we will all be able to join in this conversation - evangelicals of all perspectives, charismatics, liberals, Catholics, you know all of us.

sometimes I do just wonder if that is pie in the sky dreams. will we just end up creating one more little sub-group of christians who 'get it'.

of course that is the accusation that is already levelled at 'emerging church'. but I have to say that I don't think it is a fair one. after all a conversation is always two way, and I don't only talk to people 'like me', all my conversations speak into the one conversation that I really want to have, with the one Voice I really want to hear, and which, I hope, echoes through some of the conversations that I have (not all, of course, I'm not complete yet) with people both like and unlike me.

I perceive real hope in this conversation, after all the Word of the LORD does not return empty.

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