My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In her second book, Carol Howard Merritt lays out the case that there is hope for vital ministry in mainline churches. She asks the reader to consider how our culture has shifted, beginning with an examination of how we view authority and the ways that has changed in recent generations. She goes on to explore the way technology has changed both the medium and the message. She asks us to look at the ways activism has changed and our relationship with creation, then encourages us to look at new ways of expressing spirituality. All this can happen within the structure of our mainline churches. We don’t have to abandon everything we ever had, as long as we don’t also cling to the parts that no longer serve us, or God, well.
Carol continues to be a mainline answer to the anti-institutional, post-eveangelical (primarily male) authors who are part of the Emerging Church movement. Like Carol, I grew up Southern Baptist, but I am ten years older and was out of that environment before the theological clamp-downs that affected her life. We’ve both had the opportunity to find places where we can think freely but function within the covenants and connections of mainline denominations (in my case, UCC; in hers, PCUSA) that not only allow but encourage women in ordained ministry. I’m grateful that God made the way clear for Carol.
Carol’s writing is absolutely beautiful. The final story in the book brought tears to my eyes, tears of hope for the church. I highly recommend this book and will be using it to lead a Lenten study at North Yarmouth Congregational Church.
We’re discussing Carol’s book over at RevGalBlogPals today. Come join us!
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