Paul writes – I’ve listened and re-listened to an excellent 2008 Greenbelt talk that Dave Tomlinson (author of the very useful The Post-Evangelical (1995 / Revised US edition 2003). You can order the talk here. This is how it was promoted:
“…Introducing his new book Re-enchanting Christianity, Dave explores how Christianity, once deconstructed, can become credible again - not by returning to some lost innocence, but by discovering a realistic faith that reconciles heart and head: which grapples courageously with questions about life after death, hell, the resurrection, other faiths etc, but also offers a gritty spirituality for the 21st century…”
Dave talks of the Post-Evangelical as about his dis-enchantment with church (and Christianity) and his new book as about his “re-enchantment”. The new book is still not out in the UK (though publication date was the 29th August 2008). You can preorder it here (UK) or here (US / 30 Nov. 2008). If its anything like the talk then my early sense is that it will be a very useful book for a great many of us with more questions than answers, and for those of us struggling either in church contexts, or like me, post-church and wondering what church, moving forward, might look and feel like.
Here’s an excerpt (great quote from Lenny Bruce!), much of it forms part of the talk highlighted above.
“Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.”
“…People are no less spiritual today than they were in the past, but they are a lot less religious. A disconnect has occurred between religion and spirituality: people no longer see religion or church as the natural setting in which to explore or express their spiritual aspirations. So they are drifting away from churches in droves. However they are not doing so because they no longer believe in God, or because they have no spiritual hunger, but because in their experience church is neither offering a faith they can believe in, nor an existential spirituality that can excite or satisfy the deeper yearnings of the soul. Many long to reconnect with the sacred mystery of life, to discover their place in the cosmos, but they don’t see church or religion as a way of achieving this…I see no future in the twenty-first century for expressions of Christianity that are not Spirited. Our world longs for numinosity: for a sense of awe and mystery, for sacredness, spirituality and enchantment, for something ‘more’ than the purely rational and cerebral. If the church fails to engage with, and cater to, this longing, it has no real future…”
Some (written) content from the talk can also be found in sections of this article…