Item description for Metavista: Bible, Church and Mission in an Age of Imagination (Faith in an Emerging Culture Series) by Colin Greene & Martin Robinson...
Overview The core narrative of Christianity, the book that conveys it and the institution of the church have been marginalized by the development of modernity and postmodernity. Strangely, postmodernity created an opportunity for religious thinking and experience to reenter many lives. Yet postmodernity is not an adequate framework for thinking about life. There is therefore an opportunity for Christians to imagine what comes after and to prepare the church for a new engagement of mission with western culture. The church, through a creative missionary imagination, can redefine western cultural life. This sketches what such an approach might look like.
Publishers Description The church "after" postmodernity.The core narrative of Christianity, the book that conveys it (the Bible) and the institution of the church have been marginalized by the development of modernity and post-modernity. Strangely, post-modernity created an opportunity for religious thinking and experience to re-enter many lives. Yet post-modernity is not an adequate framework for thinking about life. There is therefore an opportunity for Christians to imagine what comes after and to prepare the church for a new engagement of mission with western culture. The church, through a creative missionary imagination, can re-define western cultural life. With a boldly crafted vision this book sketches precisely that.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.3" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.7" Weight: 0.8 lbs.
Release Date Sep 1, 2008
Series Faith In An Emerging Culture
ISBN 1842275062 ISBN13 9781842275061
Reviews - What do customers think about Metavista: Bible, Church and Mission in an Age of Imagination (Faith in an Emerging Culture Series)?
engaging the biblical narrative and its public truth as part of radical cultural engagement Mar 29, 2010
Colin Greene and Martin Robinson Metavista: Bible, Church and Mission in an Age of Imagination Faith in an Emerging Culture series (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, Authentic Media, 2008)
Reviewed by Darren Cronshaw
Colin Greene and Martin Robinson constructed a model of doing mission in the West while working at the British and Foreign Bible Society based on "radical cultural engagement". It is not enough, they claim, to improve seeker-sensitive church services or cultivate alternative expressions of church. The church is hemorrhaging and its position in society is marginalised. Greene and Robinson critique both Christendom and attempts today to revert to a position with the church as a centralised power holder. They argue instead for embracing powerlessness and ambiguity, and connecting with people's interest in religion and spirituality irrespective of any lack of commitment to church. The authors describe the contemporary cultural context as a kind of post-post-modern "Metavista", a space where change and transition are dramatic and in which innovation and imagination are predominant. Metavista, they suggest, is the dawning age of imagination. In our post-Christendom, post-modern, post-individualistic, post-colonial context, the church must celebrate imagination and engage its cultural context at deep levels.
But it is also essential to firmly ground cultural engagement in Biblical narrative. Biblical grounding will maintain a prophetic edge to the church's voice rather than allowing it to bow to cultural accommodation. Graham Cray praises Metavista as taking missional discussion "beyond `Gospel and Culture' and beyond `Emerging Church' to put the Bible back at the centre of the conversation" (back cover). A sad reality is that the Bible is a closed book for most Westerners, even including most church people. They generally know little of its information and are engaged even less with its story. Imaginative, creative and reflective use of Scripture is a largely untapped resource for the mission of the Church. Desmond Tutu suggested, "My advice to anyone who wants to run an oppressive regime would be to ban the Bible, because once that book is in people's hands then the liberation cat is out of the bag" (p63). The biblical narratives of creation, Israel, Jesus and the church are solid (fiduciary) frameworks for shaping the church's mission and its cultural engagement.
Greene and Robinson urge churches in the West to reimagine Christian community and to recover their identity and confidence. At a time when some emerging believers are questioning the place of church, these writers uphold the counter-cultural value of expressing faith communally. To suggest we can express faith without church is to be over-influenced by individualistic Western culture and under-influenced by the gospel: "However much we might be out of love with the church as it is presently constituted, it is simply not an option to be forever living apart from Christian community" (p186). Nevertheless, for an age of imagination, it is important to cultivate innovation and experimentation in church and its cultural engagement. The church needs leaders who are entrepreneurial risk-takers and not just content with the status quo, and pastors who serve as spiritual directors and not just strategic planners. In grappling with the church in an age of imagination, the writers interact with issues of church consumerism, attractional church, apostolic leadership, globalisation, inter-church cooperation, community exegesis, the marginalisation of the church and public theology.
Part of the challenge of public theology, Greene and Robinson argue, is that the church has maintained social influence but relegated its right of speech into the public square. This reflects an abdication of the gospel's power: "In surrendering the ability to talk about public theology, truth, the basis for ethics, and the critical business of how we might live together in a troubled world, Christianity set itself up to be marginalized and eventually ignored" (p166). Part of the church's calling, however, is to speak from the margins and subvert ideologies, from Caesar through to consumerism.
Back to Greene and Robinson's appeal for deeper use of biblical narrative, the Bible contains political capital to address public issues. Metavista appeals for engaging the biblical narrative and its public truth as part of radical cultural engagement. If the church's role is to foster human flourishing, then it is beholden to model new ways of relating, advocate for flexible family-friendly and spirituality-supportive workplaces, criticise early sexualization of children and address any and all other public issues. The church must engage these issues alongside other aspects of missiology. This is part of re-imagining the church's role in the cultural metavista that Greene and Robinson describe.
Originally reviewd in Australian Journal of Mission Studies, Vol.3, No.2 (December).