Sunday, May 19, 2013

Prodigal Christianity: Introduction

For the next five weeks we will be in a dialogue with "Prodigal Christianity: 10 Signposts into the Missional Frontier" by David Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw.  We will dialogue with the book and the authors themselves. David Fitch is a copastor and founder of Life on the Vine Christian Community in Chicago.  He serves as the B.R. Lidner Chair of Evangelical Theology at Northern Seminary.  He has authored six other books as well including "The End of Evangelicalism?" and "The Great Giveaway"  He has a strong web presence as a contributor to websites and blogs regularly at his own site Reclaiming the Mission.  Geoff Holsclaw is also copastor of Life on the Vine Christian Community in Chicago and also serves as an adjunct professor at Northern Seminary.  Geoff also serves as the Midwest Coordinator for the Eccelsia Network and is regularly seen on the web as well including his blog For Time Being.

David Fitch
"Prodigal Christianity" is a helpful guide on how to approach North American Christianity in our current age. Both authors have experienced the "Emergent Church" first hand.  I have also been a student of Emergent concepts the past few years. Consuming books and blogs by authors such as Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell, and Dan Kimbal.  Like myself, they have found these authors very helpful in deconstructing many of the problems with the modern American Church.  However, once the theology and practices have been deconstructed the "re-construction" concepts have been found wanting in some ways.  Prodigal Christianity helps to "re-construct" the North American faith journey in a deep, theologically sound, and practically helpful way.  David Fitch describes the book this way"It speaks into the discontent of all those who have exhausted conservative, liberal, and even emergent ways of being Christian and are looking for a new way forward. It offers building blocks for missional theology and practice that moves Christians into a gospel-centered way of life for our culture and our time."

Geoff Holsclaw
They do this by tracking the parable of the Prodigal Son and offering like Karl Barth did, that God himself, in Christ is the one who goes into the far country to bring back all that were lost.  "This way of living is radical and generous and yet particularly defined as the way of God.  This journey will break down the boundaries around the postmodern, post-Christian, sexually broken, relationally scarred, estranged, wandering, and marginalized peoples or our day.  It is a journey that takes us to the frontiers of God's mission.  To be Christian is to learn to be prodigal." (xxvi introduction)

Each week I will look at two of the ten signposts found in "Prodigal Christianity."  Each blog post will appear on Friday of each week.  The dates for the conversations will be:
1. Post Christendom and Misseo Dei: May 26th
2. Incarnation and Witness June 2nd
3. Scripture and Gospel June 9th
4. Church and Prodigal Relationships June 16th
5. Prodigal Justice and Prodigal Openness June 23rd

And here is the very best part.  Authors David Fitch and Geoff Holsclaw will also engage in these conversations by adding their comments along the way!  I hope you will follow along the next five Fridays.  Use the comment sections to engage in conversation with the book and the authors.  Blessings.

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