Review: The New Conspirators (Tom Sine)

28 Jul

The New ConspiratorsIn the summer of 2000 Lyn and I were waiting to move to Vancouver BC. Whilst the time leading to our move seemed to go slowly I decided to get into some reading. One day in a Christian Book shop I picked up “Mustard Seed vrs McWorld.” Then we got busy and I didn’t really get to reading the book until we had moved back to the UK a couple of years later. What I read then, inspired me and challenged me.

MSvMW was one of the first books that helped me imagine what Christian life could, and maybe should be like. I went through portions of the book with different people I was trying to inspire with me to break out of the conventional models of churchianity to which we had become accustomed. Sadly, I found people only too willing to argue, especially when we broached conversations about more intentional community and better stewardship. Although MSvMW has informed our journey and borne some fruit in us and, through us in some others, I feel sad at the reticence of many to set the sails of adventure. I lament how difficult it is to break out of ‘life as we know it’ and into ‘life as it could be.’

So here we are in 2008 and we believe God is calling us back to Canada, to New Brunswick this time. This year Lyn was given a copy of ‘The New Conspirators’ to review here on her blog. Lyn reviewed the first part of the book, but I confess that I have stolen the book from here before she had the opportunity to finish the job. So my penance and pleasure is this review.

The book is in many ways a follow on from MSvMW. It accounts for the changes in the world and for the changes in the way many people are being and doing church.  The New Conspirators is an invitation. There are no blue prints or models to follow, but stories that invite you to creative imagination and to bold experimentation. These are seasoned with some simple suggestions to help you begin or continue your journey.

Tom’s research and analysis is excellent. His findings are disturbing however, especially when examining the challenges we are facing now, challenges which will only increase whilst the world continues on it current trajectory. Whilst surprising and sometimes alarming, we will all recognise the economic and environmental picture of the world that Tom paints.

In the midst of our present reality Tom calls us back to the future, to the hope of the homecoming of God’s Kingdom. In one very personal and moving section Tom refashions and paraphrases ancient biblical images of the coming of God’s kingdom. Tom reminds us and calls followers of Jesus back to the mission of planting the seeds from which this Kingdom will come to fruition. Whilst we need to be able to critique the world in which we live, we are called to be a living prophetic demonstration of the alternative way of life, a community that inspires hope.

Eternal life is not merely about living forever, but about cultivating that future reality here and now. Tom calls us to a creative faith that fills every aspect of our being, flowing out from our every activity: be it family life, or decisions about our spending, housing, vocation, giving or our use of time. I wonder, how many of us really meant it when we sang: “I surrender all” on a Sunday morning? This book subtly asks that question.

The remainder of the book is full of plentiful practical ideas of how we live this way of life. These are not theoretical sound bites, but true and living examples that are grounded in the pioneering practices of those who are already taking up the mustard seed challenge. These examples give me hope and fill me with excitement for the future.

Whilst this book is titled: the new conspirators, it is an advertisement for co-conspirators. For Lyn and I, as we hopefully head for New Brunswick in the fall, co-conspirators are exactly what we are on the lookout for.

More reviews can be found at here at thenewconspirators.com

Jon Hallewell

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2 Responses to “Review: The New Conspirators (Tom Sine)”

  1. Joe Miller August 8, 2008 at 00:03 #

    Hi, I came to your site because of our shared interest in being a Friend of Missional. I am glad to make your acquaintance and visit your blog. God bless!

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