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The Reinvented Church

| 3.8.03
'The Reinvented Church: Styles and Strategies,' by Donald E. Miller

A few things struck me about this article. I was very impressed that someone whose own personal spirituality is so far away from that of the "new paradigm" churches would write such a glowing report on them. I would have expected all harsh criticism, especially of the way that the Bible is interpreted in such churches. Instead you get the image of someone really struck by the way that God is experientially real in these churches.

In my own experience I've found that mainline denominations are borrowing what works from the "new paradigm pattern and applying it to their own congregations. The last time my wife and I went church shopping, we found numerous Lutheran and other churches who incorporate small cell groups, contemporary Christian music, etc, and mix them into their own worship experience. So in that sense some of what Miller is calling for has already happened.

Spiritual experience. Personally, I'm at the point where I don't just want to read about God in the Bible or elsewhere, I want to experience God. The "new paradigm churches" as presented in the article struck a chord with me because experience seems to be a major theme there.

Miller seems to imply that the weakness of "new paradigm churches" is the same as their strength. Because they identify with the popular culture to a certain extent, they are blind to some of the excesses rational materialism has brought us.

I think its an interesting phenomenon because consumerism and capitalism (at least the forces of the free market economics) are major American values, and now we can see how those values have impacted everything, even down to our choice in faith communities and how we look at our relationship with God. Moreover, these assumptions are so taken for granted that almost no church in the land is left untouched.

PUBLISHER: The Christian Century, December 22-29, 1999

(source: http://www.religion-online.org/cgi-bin/relsearchd.dll/showarticle?item_id=1519)

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