Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Claiming Resurrection in the Dying Church: Freedom beyond Survival

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Claiming Resurrection in the Dying Church: Freedom beyond Survival

Article excerpt

Claiming Resurrection in the Dying Church: Freedom beyond Survival. By Anna B. Olson. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016. 124 pp. $17.00 (paper).

This is a book that any parish priest, lay leader, or active member of a congregation needs to read. When I first picked it up, I was a bit concerned by the words "dying church" in the title. In my view, those who invoke such language often do the church a disservice, stoking our anxieties to peddle some silver bullet program, without providing useful guidance toward the future God intends. Fortunately, Olsons intentions are exactly the opposite. She offers us an Easter hope that avoids our denial of death and frenzied search for easy answers. Although she writes with our context in mind, she has not bought in to the perspective of those who are obsessed with the peculiarities of this particular ecclesial moment, especially in the United States and Europe. Although she acknowledges the real grief and loss involved in the sea change we are undergoing, Olson stresses "claiming resurrection" and "freedom beyond survival."

In an accessible style, illustrated mostly from her experience as a parish priest and with few citations other than Holy Scripture and bits of popular culture, Olson combines practical advice with spiritual and theological depth. I perceive resonances with some of the best recent missiology (compare David Bosch's A Spirituality of the Road, about missionary spirituality in light of 2 Corinthians) and community organizing models (especially asset-based ones). I have a sense that most, if not all, of what she advocates would help the church be more faithful in any time or place, even for those whose present "success" may give them the illusion they can survive without "dying."

The book is divided into three sections, with the story of the call of Abraham providing the organizing scheme. Each section is in turn divided into three chapters, each of which commends a particular practice. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.