A book that speaks of the church and mission with such passion and integrity, and yet is rooted in the overwhelming abundance and generosity of God, is arguably long overdue. Generous Ecclesiology is a true manifesto for our times. It is a call for the church to live, love and serve well by abiding in the generosity of God â€" and to rejoice in the breadth and depth of the tradition we inhabit and share as Christians. This is a book for all those who want to move on from the tribalism that so easily ensnares Christian discourses, and often leads to painful conflict and division. Generous Ecclesiology calls the reader into that deeper, abundant and wholly generous space that we might dare to call the church.
The church in our time needs is not so much restructuring but renewal. These essays help to focus our attention where it belongs, not on the Church as a sociological phenomenon which caters for our religious tastes and feelings but as a Eucharistic movement away from self absorption and towards the invitation of God who so loved the world that he was generous and gave himself to us in Jesus Christ. The Church lives and becomes part of the life of God by remembering the past, being attentive to the present in anticipation of the future. This book is an exploration of this mystery from a variety of angles and deserves a wide readership.
Some pronouncements made by proponents of â€˜traditional churchâ€, on the one hand, and â€˜fresh expressionsâ€, on the other, have become across as a touch mean spirited. This admirable volume reminds us that a generous God, whom Christians proclaim, demands a generous ecclesiology. Only so will the Church fulfil its task of embodying and promoting the Kingdom. These essays are offered in a spirit of conversation. I hope and pray that they will encourage their readers to keep turning to God, and to one another, in conversation. It is, after all, no accident that the words conversation and conversion are related.
Generous Ecclesiology is a thoughtful and very welcome contribution to the unhelpfully polarised current debates about what the Church is, or should be. The authors of each essay address difficult questions with both clarity and theological rigour, bringing a new and refreshing depth of analysis to the questions raised by Mission Shaped Church and For the Parish.