I get weary sometimes of hearing Christians all over our land (and, hearing my own heart sometimes) crying out in fear in the midst of a changing world or griping about the supposed dying spirituality of upcoming generations. Anyone who claims to worship a man who wouldn’t stay dead has no business fearing much of anything around here. And anyone who’s spent more than a few minutes with students and young adults lately knows there’s every reason to be ecstatic about what God is up to in the emerging generation.
I suppose this need for redirected hope is why one of the best books I’ve picked up in some time is The New Conspirators, by Tom Sine.
Sine is an authority on global trends and Christians’ response in the midst of such changes. In his seventies now, he’s a refreshingly optimistic forward-thinker, who’s willing to embrace what God is stirring up in an upcoming generation. He’s not naïve about the genuine challenges that face humanity with the rise of what he calls “McWorld” and the myth of the “Global Mall.” But neither does he wring his hands in desperation: “Both the church and the world have changed tremendously. But God’s strategy hasn’t changed. Jesus let us in on an astounding secret: God has chosen to change the world through the lowly, ordinary and insignificant…. So, get ready friends—God is preparing us for something really, really—small…a quiet conspiracy that is destined to change our lives and God’s world” (22-23). One of the reasons for his cheerful outlook is that Sine sees God’s work in several new movements in Christianity today: “as my wife Christine and I wander the world, we see the Spirit of God working largely through the vision, creativity and initiative of a new generation—through emerging, missional, multicultural and monastic streams—as well as in traditional churches that are hungry for more authentic, vital, mission-centered faith. This book is written to invite you not only to support what God is doing through these renewing streams but also to join this conspiracy of compassion” (20).
So hail to this prophetic septuagenarian who refuses to cower in fear or to buy into shallow misperceptions of emerging spirituality. May we all be so bold as God leads us into a breathtaking future.