Reimagining the Church's Mission from the Outside, In
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Beginning with a ‘Street Nativity Play’ that didn’t end as planned, and finishing with an open-ended conversation in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Being Interrupted locates an institutionally-anxious Church of England within the wider contexts of divisions of race and class in ‘the ruins of empire’, alongside ongoing gender inequalities, the marginalization of children, and catastrophic ecological breakdown.
In the midst of this bleak picture, Al Barrett and Ruth Harley open a door to a creative disruption of the status quo, ‘from the outside, in’: the in breaking of the wild reality of the ‘Kin-dom’ of God. Through careful and unsettling readings in Mark’s gospel, alongside stories from a multicultural outer estate in east Birmingham, they paint a vivid picture of an ‘alternative economy’ for the Church’s life and mission, which begins with transformative encounters with neighbours and strangers at the edges of our churches, our neighbourhoods and our imaginations, and offers new possibilities for repentance and resurrection.
"A thought provoking and compelling read that is not afraid to tackle some of the challenging issues the Church has had to consider over recent times. Taking into account the turbulent period from Brexit, the Windrush Scandal, the Me-Too Movement to the COVID-19 Pandemic the authors examine the social fractures in the light of the biblical imperative of what it means to love our neighbour. What they offer is an inspired approach that acknowledges both the challenges and the joys that ‘being interrupted’ can bring in order to envision new possibilities. Taking a constructively critical and accessible theological examination of the current context, Al and Ruth prompt us to consider how we might be intentional about traversing those fractures as Christ’s disciples." -- Revd Dr Sharon Prentis
"Here is a primer for our times written by two people who help me to feel hopeful about the church and the future of Christian faith. Rooted in practice as well as wide scholarship and prayer, clear-eyed about the urgent issues of our day, this book challenges the multiple ways in which privilege operates to 'other' and refuse the gifts of those who are different from us. It will help individuals and communities find new ways to co-operate with the Spirit of God in her fluid, generative work of kindling and sustaining life - in unlikely and surprising places and ways." -- Professor Nicola Slee
"...a creative, interdisciplinary contextual missiology, which breaks new ground by incorporating a multidimensional analysis (race, class and gender). The book adds to a small number of texts written by theologians racialised as white, that rise to the challenge for racial justice in Christian theology. The book's mix of theory, practice and creative arts make it an essential 'action book' for individual Christians and churches seeking to interrupt the long history of oppression(s) from, and in British churches." -- Professor Robert Beckford
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