I’m reading David Fitch’s book The Great Giveaway. I like it a lot. Here are some reasons why:
- David is an academic AND a church-planter, actually splitting his time between the two tasks. I’ve often felt like there was an unnecessary divide between the academic world and the church ministry world. Guys like Fitch and N.T. Wright give me hope that it can be bridged, that one can participate meaningfully in both worlds.
- David Fitch isn’t cool. Nothing against cool people, but sometimes I get tired of the fact that so many "emerging church" folks are young hipsters with cool hair (meticulously groomed to look "messy") and great shoes. David’s an older guy who wears suits and stuff. I like that.
- I get the impression he’d be into this stuff even if it wasn’t fashionable. "Emerging church" stuff is definitely getting more fashionable lately, but Dr. Fitch has some theological convictions, as opposed to good fashion sense, and that’s why he’s doing what he’s doing. That seems right.
- His book catalyzes many thoughts I’ve had for the past few years as to how evangelicalism has swallowed the values of the Enlightenment and allowed its ecclesiology to be hijacked by those values.
- He practices what he preaches. It seems he didn’t write the book until he’d been pastoring his church for four years. So he’s not shouting at us from his ivory tower; he’s in the trenches, in community with a local Body of Christ.
I think I’ll post a few thoughts as I read the chapters of the book. To whet your appetite, he talks about how the values of modernism have hijacked different elements of evangelical church life, namely the definition of success, evangelism, leadership, worship, preaching, justice, spiritual formation, and moral education.