Try out a few of these reads I’ve been munching on this month:
1. Consuming Jesus: Beyond Race and Class Divisions in a Consumer Church by Paul Metzger
Many Americans think racialization was dismantled along with the Jim Crow legislation that once sustained overt structures of segregation. Unfortunately, today we live under an updated version of segregation, through the subtle power of unchallenged norms of consumer preference. Consumerism affects even the church, reinforcing societal race and class divisions. Intentionally or unintentionally, many churches have set up structures of church growth that foster segregation, like appealing to consumer appetites. Paul Metzger here argues that the evangelical Christian church needs to take the lead in admitting this fault and making the change away from racial and consumer segregation. In addition to sensitivity to structural concerns and the restructuring of key theological themes, critical attention is given to analyzing the prevalent iconography that shapes Evangelicalism. Challenging ways that consumerism fosters ethnic and economic divisions that distort evangelical Christianity, The Consumer Driven Church offers a theologically grounded call to the restructuring of passions, practices, church polity, and priorities, and to the refiguring of the evangelical theo-political imagination around a nobler vision.
2. The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical Linguistic Approach to Christian Doctrine by Kevin Vanhoozer
Observing a strange disappearance of doctrine within the church, Kevin Vanhoozer argues that there is no more urgent task for Christians today than to engage in living truthfully with others before God. He details how doctrine serves the church–the theater of the gospel–by directing individuals and congregations to participate in the drama of what God is doing to renew all things in Jesus Christ. Taking his cue from George Lindbeck and others who locate the criteria of Christian identity in Spirit-led church practices, Vanhoozer relocates the norm for Christian doctrine in the canonical practices, which, he argues, both provoke and preserve the integrity of the church’s witness as prophetic and apostolic.Continue Reading …