Highly recommended

I don’t tend to recommend a lot of books here. Which is funny because I tend to read and like a lot of books. I’ve never been much of an evangelist, I suppose. But sometimes a book catches my heart and I think it needs to be read by a lot more people.

I’ve just got started with one of those books. The Gospel According to Relativity by James Geiger. I’m only about fifty pages into it, but I think it should be bought and passed around by anyone interested in the shaping changes of the church. Geiger is unique in that he’s not a minister nor an academic theologian. Which means he’s approaching the topic of Christianity in this present world as what would previously be called a layman. Only he’s not that either, at least as what that term might have previously implied. He’s a very thoughtful, engaging, and stimulating writer whose thoughts are immediately applicable to some of the particular problems of emerging and missional church thought. Namely he presents a very potent response to the difficulty of accepting pluralism without descending into relativism. If you’ve been around critiques of new forms of church you’ll know that is a chief charge, and one which I’ve rarely seen adequately answered. “Trust us” seems to be the standard response. Which I do, for the most part, but not everyone does.

Addressing these kinds of issues isn’t just about justifying new forms of church. Addressing these issues can serve as a guide and foundation for nascent communities, helping them to avoid the pitfalls that are most certainly out there and can drive even the most earnest Jesus followers into uselessness.

Even better Geiger avoids the seemingly all too common problem of emerging and missional books. He isn’t writing to leaders and organizers. His book very much reads, in fact, like a book by Philip Yancey, mixing depth and readability in a way that would be perfect for the thoughtful, well, lay person. Being outside the hallowed halls of both Christian academia and Christian leadership culture Geiger writes for those who don’t have to think about how to be missional, because they are already living lives outside the church.

It is philosophical and thought provoking, yet I think it is entirely approachable and helpful as we navigate our way past postmodernity into what finally gets around to replacing modernity. And this, Geiger, suggests shouldn’t be yet another time/era based organizing model as modernity was, and as all previous philosophical/cultural movements have been. It should be based on motion. A movement movement. Not limited by time and space but rather flexible except for the constant that can be the point of reference. The constant of Christ.

I’ve not gotten too far into, as I’ve said, but I’d love to get others reading The Gospel of Relativity as much as possible, for conversation and because I think Geiger’s work should be significantly more influential than it presently is.

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