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Inter-Varsity Press Embodying Our Faith: Becoming a Living, Sharing, Practicing Church

Tim Morey, in Embodying our Faith: Becoming a Living, Sharing, Practicing Church combines the rare attributes of an engaging intelligent mind, crisp clear writing, and an obvious-ominous concern for his subject matter and uses them to ask one fundamental question: "Is there a way that we as the church can be faithfully, even radically biblical, and at the same time be culturally relevant?" Churches, seemingly and in their own context, have often assumed that they are biblical, and that the way they approach church is biblical.

This is precisely why, according to Morey, only 17% of American adults are attending church and that this number should drop to around 14% by 2020.a mere ten years away. Even those who retain their faith in Christ are losing their faith in the church and leaving it in disturbing numbers while claiming the church "is a detriment" to their faith. Yet, while Morey betrays his ominous concern, he clearly has hope, because he believes the postmodern context (understood as cultural phenomena not as a philosophy) is the perfect context in which the church can grow, can minister, and can overcome its weaknesses.

For younger generations postmodernism has caused a "titanic shift" away from modernism, and the way it describes and interprets the reality around us, to postmodernism--which rejects absolute truth claims or the possibility of knowing truth as modernism claimed it could-and implanted new ways of thinking about, processing, and interpreting information. The consequences, while many, have particular relevance to, in Morey's mind, moral relativism, skepticism, and religious pluralism, that are all unified by a rejection of any meta-narrative which claims to explain anyone of them, or all of them authoritatively or exhaustively.

But what does this mean for the church? Division. Within the body, and from the world. Churches are increasingly mirages within reality, rather than a place where reality can be discussed and wrestled with. Even when churches try to minister to the postmodern with "alternative services" such efforts often collapse or end up splitting churches. So how can the church participate, even if it recognizes that it can't change itself? This is just a tasting of the discussion that will go on in Embodying our Faith: Becoming a living, Sharing, Practicing Church. It very well may be the most challenging book you read this year-and read it you should for if you are a part of a church, you will need to help navigate the church in the postmodern world, or watch it fade into the distance.
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