Rising from the Ashes: Rethinking Church explores the interface between the emerging church and traditional, liturgical churches. The book is a series of interviews the author, Becky Garrison, describes it as a "salon." It's a helpful (if poorly edited) sampling of discussions about recovering authentic Christian witness in postmodern urban culture.
Becky Garrison, senior contributing editor for the Wittenburg Door, had in-person, phone, e-mail, blog, and IM interactions with 33 people, most of whom are involved in "emerging" groups, "alternative worship," or other innovative worship practices. About half of the contributors are of the Episcopal/Anglican tradition; nearly half are women.
Garrison asked about the role of doctrine in emergent experiments and the relationship between newer forms of church and traditional churches. She guides discussions on a variety of topics, asking questions such as:
How do you respond to conventional wisdom that the mainline churches are dying? (of Phyllis Tickle and Martha Grace Reese)
Why do you define "alternative worship" as postcharismatic and postevangelical? (of Jonny Baker)
How do you reconcile the need to affirm orthodoxy without becoming exclusionary snobs? (of Brian McLaren)
How do we balance the experience of the church with the authority of Scripture? (of N. T. Wright)
What do you say to all those who feel all you have to do is light some candles, turn down the power praise music, and viola you have an emerging church service? (of Nadia Bolz-Weber and Jonny Baker)
Define ritual, and how do you see ritual as being redefined for the 21st century? (of Kurt Nielson, Elise Brown, and Rick Fabian)
Eight themes permeate the book:
- Hope! These folks are hopeful about a substantial and authentic rebirth of the church in postmodern culture, and their hope sparks a lot of creativity and risk-taking.