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The Church of the Perfect Storm [Paperback]

By Leonard Sweet (Author)
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Item description for The Church of the Perfect Storm by Leonard Sweet...

An array of cultural forces is coming together to present the church with unprecedented challenge and unequaled opportunity. Such ?category 5" realities as postmodernism, postChristendom attacks on belief in God, and the threat of global warming have coalesced to make a ?perfect storm? that will leave people uncertain of their place in the world, and all they have previously believed in. Like the disciples when Jesus calmed the storm, the church can cower and cry out for relief. Or, when everything is spinning and whirling in the wind, the church can go out to meet the storm, embrace the gale, . . . and pass o

Publishers Description
The church is heading into a perfect storm of cultural forces. Will you sink beneath the waves, or ride the winds of the Spirit?

An array of cultural forces is coming together to present the church with unprecedented challenge and unequaled opportunity. Such category 5" realities as postmodernism, postChristendom attacks on belief in God, and the threat of global warming have coalesced to make a perfect storm that will leave people uncertain of their place in the world, and all they have previously believed in. Like the disciples when Jesus calmed the storm, the church can cower and cry out for relief. Or, when everything is spinning and whirling in the wind, the church can go out to meet the storm, embrace the gale, . . . and pass out kites.
From the Circuit Rider review: "Like other books Sweet has written and compiled, "The Church of the Perfect Storm" is thought-provoking and compelling. The material flows in such a way that allows readers to grasp the gravity of the situation. However, as with most futuristic material, there is also a sense in which readers may want to know: 'Okay, now what? Where do we need to steer this ship? Are mainline and evangelical churches so off-course as to fail to weather the rising tides that are here and soon coming?' Readers of this volume may enjoy the description of a post-Christendom world, but they may also want to know more about the prescription for the days ahead. (Click here to read the entire review.)"

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Abingdon Press
Pages   187
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 5.98" Height: 0.52"
Weight:   0.78 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2008
Publisher   Abingdon Church Supplies
ISBN  0687650895  
ISBN13  9780687650897  

Availability  141 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 01:30.
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More About Leonard Sweet

Leonard Sweet Leonard Sweet is a scholar of USAmerican culture; a semiotician who "sees things the rest of us do not see, and dreams possibilities that are beyond most of our imagining;" and a preacher and best-selling author who communicates the gospel with a signature bridging of the worlds of faith, academe, and popular culture. In 2006 and 2007, Len was voted by his peers “One of the 50 Most Influential Christians in America” by ChurchReport Magazine, and in 2010, he was selected by the top non-English Christian website as one of the “Top 10 Influential Christians of 2010.” His popular podcast, “Napkin Scribbles,” is widely quoted, and his weekly sermon contributions to have made that site the top preaching resource for pastors in North America. For nine years, he and his wife wrote the entire content for the weekly preaching resource Homiletics. In 2005 Len introduced the first open-source preaching resource on the Web, Len’s microblogs on twitter and facebook rank as two of the most influential social media sites in the world. You can find some of Len’s talks on his youtube channel, Founder and President of SpiritVenture Ministries (SVM), in 1995 Len launched Sweet's SoulCafe, a spirituality newsletter purchased by Broadman&Holman Publishing. Len is a popular and highly sought-after speaker throughout North America and around the world. In the past couple of years he has spoken in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, England, Wales, South Africa, South Korea, Iceland, Scotland, and most recently, China, Indonesia, and Latvia.

Author of more than 200 hundred articles, 1300+ published sermons, and more than fifty books, Leonard Sweet’s publications include the best sellers Soul Tsunami, Aqua Church, Jesus Manifesto (with Frank Viola), and Jesus: A Theography (with Frank Viola), as well as many other volumes that are revolutionizing the church’s mission. Len released multiple books in 2012, including Viral: Why Social Media is Poised to Ignite Revival; What Matters Most; the e-book, Real Church in a Social Network World; I Am A Follower; The Greatest Story Never Told: Revive Us Again. In 2011 Len published his first novel, The Seraph Seal (co-authored with Lori Wagner) with an innovative website, Several more books are scheduled for release in 2013/14: the ground-breaking preaching textbook, Giving Blood: A Fresh New Paradigm for Preaching (Zondervan), The Well-Played Life (Tyndale), Me to We ( ), and a new way to tell the scriptures, My Story, My Song (with Byounho Zho). Len published the first religion e-book on amazon: The Dawn Mistaken for Dusk in 2000.

Currently the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew University, Madison, NJ and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University, Portland, Oregon, Len was Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Theological School at Drew University from 1995 to 2001. Previous to Drew, Len served for eleven years as President and Professor of Church History at United Theological Seminary, Dayton, Ohio and is currently their President Emeritus. Prior to 1985, Len was Provost of Colgate Rochester/Bexley Hall/Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, New York when he was in his late 20s. Involved in leadership positions in the United Methodist Church, Len has been chosen to speak at various Jurisdictional and General Conferences as well as the 1996 World Methodist Congress in Rio de Janeiro. He also serves as a consultant to many of America's denominational leaders and agencies. He is a member of the West Virginia Annual Conference.

Leonard Sweet currently resides in Madison, in the state of New Jersey.

Leonard Sweet has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Emergent Ys (Paperback)
  2. Library of Living Faith
  3. Resonate

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Church of the Perfect Storm?

Unfortunately, this anthology is hackneyed and cliche'  Oct 31, 2008
The Church of the Perfect Storm is an anthology of church leaders attempting to offer the Body of Christ direction in postmodern cultures that challenge traditional ways of its captaincy. Unfortunately, the text offers few tangible insights on how to do much of anything, and with only one exception, all of its contributors are white males. This is hardly a balanced perspective.

Regarding the viewpoints that are present, the authors tend to swing between two extremes, the first of which trumpets doom and gloom for the way church has operated under a "modern" mindset. When the pendulum swings the other way, readers are taken through a myriad of chapters that read like high school, student-council election speeches, desperately counseling listeners to throw caution to the wind and to "just do it." Besides the obvious shortcomings of such sophomoric writing, whatever "it" actually is remains conveniently and suspiciously unexplained. The entire scope of the book is ill defined, lacking direction, clarity and usefulness in general.

Regardless of which extreme a particular author happens to be writing from, a recurring theme in the book is that church leaders should be risk takers and boldly head out into cultural storms that are brewing against the church. Never mind that nobody bothers to explore what that actually means or might look like, the implication is that "facing storms head on can bring [one] fortune." While this provides a nice sound bite and may even be true in certain situations, such action can also be arrogant and breeds death and destruction more than success. This highlights a general deficiency that all of contributors unwittingly participate in: they want to play with special rules for their metaphors, superficially applying them to their philosophical pep-talks, but rarely do they consider how these same word pictures might expose the vulnerabilities of their windy wanderings.

Similarly, instances of what might best be termed as "psycho-babble" plague Perfect Storm's pages. These catchy phrases have the illusion of profound spirituality, but a discerning reader may perceive that they are devoid of coherence and applicability. One of the best examples of this comes on page 153, where Sweet suggests that sometimes Christians simply need to take their hands off the controls and "trust the Spirit of God to blow [them] where it wills." This phrase is meant metaphorically and literally, but Sweet does not offer any sampling of how this might look or what results it may yield in the church. Hence, it is not only devoid of palpable content but is reckless and irresponsible as well. If anything, it inspires hope that I never find myself in a struggling congregation (or in traffic) when Len Sweet is lurking about.

Furthermore, only two pages after he tells readers to just "let go," Sweet sullies his message by telling his audience that, "The more the world spins dizzyingly out of control, the more the need for a fixed point and the more we need to lock our hands on the tiller of truth." I wonder what (or whose) truth he is talking about. Indeed, the imagery that Len Sweet offers as encouragement to the intrepid storm-sailor, i.e., "...tie yourself to the mast...," is the exact same thing that many so-called "modern" Christians are doing. Undoubtedly, Sweet's courageous collection of Christian authors imagine that they are the ones tied-in and ready, but I suspect that traditional church leaders would imagine that they are the ones holding fast to Jesus in the midst of frothy turmoil. Whom is clinging to the "Old Rugged Cross" and whom is being swept out to sea appears to be merely a matter of perspective. This never seems to have dawned upon Sweet and his seasoned swashbucklers in their overblown book.

As a final critique, the book's writers simply assume that all vestiges of the modern mindset will be (or already have been) eliminated by a multiplex of postmodern, breakaway cultural movements. Not only is this untrue, but it also demonstrates the authors' ignorance of the Western culture that they attempt to offer advice on. Parts of Western culture are changing in significant ways, but even a quick perusal through this site's religious offerings will showcase that the most reviewed, commented, loved and hated works between atheists and Christians are those that operate from modern, rational perspectives. These caustic conversations are not in short supply and are unlikely to abate any time soon. To suggest that the traditional faith-landscape is tranquil and easy apart from postmodernity demonstrates a glaring disconnection from reality among the writers who slapped together this book. Ignoring one storm in order to push out into another does not equate wisdom. Neither does it handle the gospel with balance or dexterity. Indeed, if this book was the only one that a new and eager Christian leader encountered, he or she undoubtedly would walk away with a one-sided and marginally schizophrenic perspective.

Nevertheless, there are a few worthwhile points in this text. What was most helpful was its authors' comfort with ambiguity and discomfort with traditional models of Christendom. While they did not offer any particularly tangible insights on how to "head into the storms," at least they acknowledged that tempests are brewing and that we do not need to become hysterical in our attempts to be saved from them. As Sweet succinctly said, "We must learn to be at home in the strange times that we are in." Furthermore, the book does serve to encourage its readers that they need not solve all of the sea's mysteries before they set a course for the edge of the map. While we may be unsettled at the prospect of remaining in turmoil, we cannot let this trepidation keep us out of the water. As contributor Thomas Bandy notes, "There is something more to this storm than meets the eye. Spirit is in it." That is the only hope we have the luxury of affording.

Thanks for reading.
-C. Lambeth
Launching the Church Out Into Deep Water Is . . .  Apr 21, 2008
. . . the only prophetic way for The Church of the Perfect Storm to effectively address one of the greatest Culturestorms in history. At least that is according to Leonard Sweet and the voices of multiple writers in a new book he edited and Abingdon Press released two months ago.

This book provides a dramatic image of the conflict and challenge facing Christianity if it is to successfully navigate the waters of post-Christendom. The reward is not in the harbor. The reward is in the midst of the storm. The reward is in the deep water. The reward may follow the storm as God displays a special rainbow.

The church cannot stay in the harbor just as the early church could not stay in Jerusalem. But once again it might take persecution to get the church to leave the harbor and to see the opportunities of God in the midst of the perfect storm.

It has been 500 years since the last perfect storm for Christianity. We called it the Reformation. The forces of the Counter-Reformation sought to undermine it, but it could not. The Church of the Perfect Storm paints a clear picture of the challenges that most be faced in the current post-Christendom storm.

At a time such as this some of the Israelites wanted to return to Egypt rather than cross the Red Sea. In the same way many modern Christians are afraid to face the perfect storm present in the midst of post-modernity. They prefer the harbor or, as Stephen Joubert says on page 50, the religious aquarium which some know as churches.

As I shared when I formally endorsed this book for Len and Abingdon Press: "Just as during a hurricane the safest place for ships is not the harbor, but the deep water, so Christianity in a post-modern era must launch out into deep water and face head-on the perfect storm created by the convergence of post-modernity, religious pluralism, institutionalized Christianity, and militant atheism."

Go forth and become storm chasers. Join The Church of the Perfect Storm as shown to us in this book by writers Len Sweet, Greg Glatz, Stephan Joubert, Alan Jamieson, Dries Lombaard, Younglae Kim, Earl Pierce, Bill Easum, Michael Blewett, Mark Batterson, Tom Bandy, and Peter Walker.

BTW,another recent book on churches and denominations that uses the image of the perfect storm is by Richard L. Hamm and its Recreating The Church: Recreating the Church: Leadership for the Postmodern Age (TCP Leadership Series)

--provided by George Bullard at [...]

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