This is for the missional entrepreneurs working in continental Europe that I will be teaching in Belgium next week. You know who you are and you may have been notified of my book recommendation. If not, here it is: The most important book you can read in preparation for my presentations, the one and only book apart from the Bible, is GloboChrist: The Great Commission Takes a Postmodern Turn, by Carl Raschke. Get it from UK’s Eden or Amazon if you are coming over from USA.
I finally met Carl a few months ago in Amsterdam, having read the PDF earlier this year and we had a good chat. But reading the hardcopy of the book, which was just released, I have become convinced that this book sums up the postmodern European challenge and the church’s response better than anything out there right now.
It is not a congenial book. Carl comes out fighting and throwing punches across the board. He slams both McLaren for being too inclusive and McArthur’s philosophical approach for being a “cheap metaphysical absolutism pretending to be the basis of biblical inerrancy”. He sees fundamentalism as “the idolatrous substitution of eighteenth-century propositional rationality for the biblical language of faith itself” and the “new trendsetting Emergent Village kind of postmodern Christianity” as “simply a replay of the modernist-fundamentalist debates of a century ago, with a few savory pinches of the culture wars thrown in for good measure.” Raschke derides the “self-congratulatory intellectual faddism” of both camps and attempts to move beyond the controversy towards an appropriate response to the challenge of postmodern Europe.
In doing so, Raschke gives some compelling food for thought. He picks up Deleuze’s idea of the Rhizome, as I have done for about 4 years in a lonesome cowboy kind of way (or perhaps like a Rhizome Cowboy) and offers a new metaphor for church planting movements in Europe. He also locates the current postmodernism beyond the silly word games of the 90’s to the current reality of a post-Western “globalization” of which none of us can remain unaffected. Add to that the looming clash with Islam, the information revolution of the internet and I predict, ladies and gentlemen, that we are in for a sprightly conversation about the way forward. Welcome to Europe of 2008. See you in Belgium.