Just so you know, I rarely write in an entirely linear manner. Never has that been more obvious than in trying to write a review of Gabe Lyons’ The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America.
My mind jumps from the questions I have about the issues he raises to concerns about conclusions to a certainty that there isn’t a dichotomy between “now” Christians and “next” Christians so much as that believers fall somewhere along a continuum between the two. So if a goal of the book is to make you think about Christianity and its mode of engaging the world, Lyons succeeds!
Lyons writes in three parts. In part one, Lyons describes the effect of cultural shifts such as pluralism and postmodernism along with the typical ways in which Christians reacted to the changing world around them. The heart of the book is in the second part which describes the next Christians using a series of opposing statements: provoked, not offended; creators, not critics; called, not employed; grounded, not distracted; in community, not alone; and countercultural, not “relevant.” A short final section briefly discusses the next shift in Christianity.
It’s an engaging read, peppered with examples of people interacting with the world in different and exciting ways that reflect a new definition of what it means to be a follower of Christ in an increasingly post-Christian nation.
In the end, despite the questions it raises and the confusion it causes when trying to write a moderately coherent review, The Next Christians brings new light and attention to a movement that has been underway in Christianity for some time.
Disclosure: Multonomah provided this book free of charge through the Blogging for Books program.