Glorify: Reclaiming the Heart of Progressive Christianity511alfl-yvL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

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Who should read this book?

  • Progressive Christians who want to see the renewal of a vital, living church tradition.
  • Spiritual seekers who want a faith that’s both deeply rooted and radically relevant.
  • Clergy and lay leaders who are re-examining their local church’s priorities.
  • Denominational leaders who are looking for another perspective on church growth.
  • Post-evangelicals who feel like something is “missing” in the mainline denominations.
  • Aspiring theologians (lay or ordained) who want an accessible book about practical Reformed theology.
  • Anyone curious about what glorifying God might look like for a church culture on the verge of a major sea change.

The Christian Century says:

Heath entreats progressive Christians to reclaim the concepts of discipleship and witness alongside their work for social justice. Heath names the messy imperfections of being church together but also offers hope: “Our own transformations be­come our resurrections. That’s both wonderful and staggeringly inconvenient.” Joy can be difficult and following Jesus is not always safe. To glorify God as people of resurrection is both a gift and a commission.

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Want to use Glorify with a small group or church school class? There’s a great group reading guide available here:

Glorify Reading Guide

An excerpt:

When people ask me what the “next big thing” in the church will be, I tell them this: discipleship.

There are a lot of reasons why the church doesn’t wield the influence we once had in the public sphere, but I think the main one is this: we have forgotten our foundation. We have forgotten what it means to be disciples. And people can see through us.

Few people are interested in joining just another public advocacy group, and those who are can find far more effective ones. The progressive church is not the “Democratic Party at Prayer,” to borrow a phrase, and if we continue to lose our theological literacy, and our ability to talk about our faith, that’s all we will end up being. Without a bedrock of belief, the whole enterprise of church-based social justice will crumble.

Add to that my biggest fear, which is that the “next big thing” for the progressive church is attempting to “save” ourselves. For some reason the majority of our denominational conversations these days seem to be about how to preserve our institutions and legacies, even if we try to disguise that fact by claiming we are trying something radical and new. The fact of the matter is, until we somehow refocus on the heart of our faith, we are doing the ecclesiastical equivalent of simply rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

But that doesn’t have to happen anymore.

580393_10154427519352538_251561626895162104_nIt’s time for progressive Christians to claim discipleship. It’s time to get radical, not about our politics or our policies, but about our faith. It’s time to stop throwing the baby Jesus out with the bath water, and start putting the horse before the cart. It’s time to remember what, and who, we worship, and to develop the language of faith.

And it’s time to see our social justice work as a natural product of our discipleship, not something that competes with it for the church’s time.

Only then, when we have gone back to the source and found what ultimately binds us together with God and with one another, can we go out and find the next, next big thing. Whenever that happens, we will be better for it. In fact, we just may find that when it comes to changing the world for the better, the Gospel of Why We Are Different from Other Christians can’t hold a candle to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.