In July, I reported to you that I was going to, of necessity, take a leave of absence from these Blogs because I was in the throes of writing a book and so needed to keep a singular focus on that writing project. This is to report that I have completed that project and have submitted my manuscript to my publisher (who has indicated serious willingness to publish it) along with the required accompanying documents. The book is entitled Homebrew Churches: Re-conceiving the Church for Tomorrow’s Children. The process is that if my publisher (who has published all of my recent books) finds all of this in order, we will then sign a contract and it will go into the process of copy-editing, cover design, and the details of publication.

I do appreciate their willingness to publish it since it has a lot of controversial point that will not be easily received by ecclesiastical traditionalist. But behind this have been the recurring articles in several journals, and in the press, of the reality that the emerging generation, the iGens (those who have come to maturity after the event of the iPhone in 2011) are not at all attracted to institutional churches. That leads to the emergence of a culture that is formed by in internet era and has produced all kinds of dynamics that have been totally unknown by former generations.

On my part, it was a good reason to step back, take a deep breath, and then a fresh look at what and how the New Testament portrays that new phenomenon of the church, and then to contrast it with what was the dominant ecclesiastical order of the last millennium and a half of the Christendom era. Fun! It was something of an exercise in the Jeremiah 1:10 mandate to “root up, pull down, overthrow and destroy, then to build and to plant.” Or, maybe an exercise in that venerable motto held by those of us in the Reformed tradition: “The church reformed and ever being reformed according to the word of God.”

My conclusion was that the first-century churches had, of necessity, to be small, and those relationships in which God could display the communal expression of his New Creation / Kingdom of God. What we observe is that they were primarily communities of faith that met in homes, and where the participants all knew each other and had a sense of responsibility to one another and accountability to one another. They could not have fulfilled all of the one another mandates which honeycomb the New Testament documents if they were larger assemblies in which one could be anonymous. . ..  That’s the drift of the book.

I hijacked the title from the phenomenon of six early wizards who were captivated by the potential of the new phenomenon of the microprocessor back in 1975, and began meeting in a garage every couple of weeks in Menlo Park, California to share finds and to interact with each other. It was known as the homebrew computer club, and out of it came several of the present internet giants. But they and their successors in the industry still hold to the principle that really productive working groups must not be more than twelve. Does that sound like Jesus, or what?

So, stand by. If all goes well, by the grace of God, the book should be a fact by the end of the year (hopefully). Your prayers for its usefulness will certainly be appreciated. Peace.

About rthenderson

Sixty years a pastor-teacher within the Presbyterian Church. Author of several books, the latest of which are a trilogy on missional ecclesiology: ENCHANTED COMMUNITY: JOURNEY INTO THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH, then, REFOUNDING THE CHURCH FROM THE UNDERSIDE, then THE CHURCH AND THE RELENTLESS DARKNESS. Previous to this trilogy was A DOOR OF HOPE: SPIRITUAL CONFLICT IN PASTORAL MINISTRY, and SUBVERSIVE JESUS, RADICAL FAITH. I am a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, a graduate of Davidson College, then of Columbia and Westminster Theological Seminaries.
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