Monday, November 14, 2005

On the Nightstand: George Barna-Revolution

Those of you who read this blog know that I, with many of my other blog friends, have been struggling with how to either reform the church or form a new of life of faith away from it. At first, they helped me realize what I needed to say before I knew I needed to say it. Then they helped me put a voice to it.

Now I realize every so often that I am not terribly plugged into What's Happening in Christianity. For example, until I started blogging in July I had never heard of the Emerging Church Movement. I just thought it was interesting that people were looking for new ways of doing church. And until this morning, I had never heard of George Barna's new book, Revolution. I had been researching theonomy and caught a Jolly Blogger post on it, so I stayed a while and read his review of Barna's latest release. The post wasn't favorable. And I knew I had to read this book.

Barna's premise is that a quiet, under the radar revolution is taking place: committed believers are leaving the established church in droves. And they are leaving not to indulge themselves in sin away from the eyes of accountability; they are leaving because they see the established church as an obstacle or even just an irrelevancy to fulfilling their passion for a more authentic faith. Some completely leave the church, others scale back their involvement. In all cases, these Revolutionaries continue focusing on following Jesus, they just stop relying on the established church to be the venue for their acts of faith.

And aside from simply documenting a trend impacting the church (Barna's specialty), he has another motive for writing this book:
...I desire to help Revolutionaries gain a better understanding of themselves. Many of them feel like the odd person out, and most of them strugggle with conflicting feelings about their status as spiritual champions who have no spiritual homeland. What a joy it would be if this slim volume helped to crystallize their self-awareness, legitimize their commendable quest to be Christlike, and provide some clarifying language and practical resources to assist them on their journey.
Finally, I want to encourage people who are struggling with their place in the Kingdom of God to consider this spiritual awakening as a viable alternative to what they have pursued and experienced thus far. Sometimes peopel know what they want and need to do, but feel constrained by circumstances or expectations. May this book provide those people with the permission they need to reach their next level of spiritual maturity.
I can't tell you what it means to me to read these words. I guess it's true that we are never alone, and that there is nothing new under the sun, but to hear this icon of the evangelical movement describe what I was experiencing was powerful in a way that I can't express. I have said before of what is happening around us (visit many of the blogs in my links to the right to see what I mean) that "God might be in it." If you believe Barna, he is. In a big way.

I won't try to synopsize this book; I may do that in another post. If you are on the same path that I'm on, it will be enough just to hear of this book and you'll already want to read it for yourself. If you are opposed to the idea of sincere Christians leaving church, you have company, as Jolly Blogger can attest to. He even enlisted John Calvin in his critique.

I'm still digging into it, and I will likely have more to say. In the meantime, get this book and read it. Once again, Barna is on to something.

2 Comments:

At 7:16 AM, Anonymous zane anderson said...

Wow, theonomy and Barna in the same post - wow.

Barna's "Revolution" will be discussed, btw, this Friday night (2-3-06) on the nationwide Moody Broadcasting Network. "Open Line" is a call-in show which is aired at 8-8:55 pm CT. The phone number is 312-329-4460.

For station and time of broadcast information see http://openlineradio.org.

The programs are archived for download if you're unable to tune in.

 
At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just finished reading Barna's Revolution. It totally confirmed in my and my husband's mind that we are doing the right thing by stepping outside the congregation we were previously involved. We are called to be the Church. Not go to church.

we've been home-churching with another family for nearly a year now.

If you can , please read these books:
"Mega-shift" by James Rutz
"The Open Church" by James Rutz
"The Global House Church Movement" by Rad Zdero
"Houses that Change the World" by Wolfgang Simpson

Bless you.

Becky W

 

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