Jonny Baker reviews The New Conspirators Book

jonnybaker: jesus’ empire of the mustard seed – tom sine is back in classic fashion

the-new-conspirators-cover1.jpgTom (Sine) maps the current new things happening with a mapping of four movements whose edges are blurred and overlap – emerging, mosaic, new monastic, and missional and he is enthusiastic about them all (i agreed with shaine clayborne’s hesitation in the foreword that the book runs the risk of making some of us young tykes look too good, better than the reality – but what a refreshing change!) weaving stories he has gleaned into the mix. he does carefully issue a few challenges on the way – for example he loves the creativity in emerging church but wonders why it tends to get focused on worship and church rather than taken outside the walls. he also wonders if those of us who like the postmodern world haven’t got our imaginations too shaped by the consumer dream of cool – these are great challenges and need to be responded to.

he follows the opening section mapping the new conspirators with conversations about culture and what the future challenges might be. woven into this is a view of god’s future that is wonderfully inspiring. in much the same way as i enthused about tom wright’s book a while back, this book also lays out a vision of a future for the earth that is healed when god’s kingdom comes. one of the things i have always found challenging and inspiring about tom and christine is their imagination. in the face of the consumer culture and the busyness and drain on resources so many of us face they suggest communal responses in relation to housing, resources, and neighbourhood. it takes courage to take these on board, but this is precisely the kind of imagining christian communities should engage in. in fact the last section of the book, taking our imaginations seriously, was definitely my favourite – story after story and idea after idea are laid out so that you can’t help feeling that as tom puts it all of life is a design opportunity to be co-creators with god. at the end of it, because the whole approach is inspired by jesus’ story of the mustard seed where something grows from a tiny seed, you think that even i could do something really really small and see what happens…

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