Ian Robinson BA MA PhD
But if I say, "I will not mention him or speak any more in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. Jeremiah 20.9 NIV
I can hear the depth of Jeremiah’s groan, like a wisdom tooth that cannot be cured. The ache in my heart is for the Gospel to be shared by the church in our world so that both the communities and the church are transformed by the love of God. It will be good for all of us to start afresh.
Burning Hope is for all church leaders and those who left leadership in frustration. Each chapter has a summary chart or two and a discussion guide for your group or yourself. I have written in variety of styles to release the hope that I have felt over thirty years of seeing these ideas work. I have been worn down by the resistance in society that the church partly deserves and weary from dealing with those in the church who don’t want to try anything in case it works. But hope is burning in my bones.
At the risk of scaring your budgie, I am a progressive evangelical Christian. (The word ‘progressive’ is not the property of one theological stance.) This book sketches my view of the road ahead, at least enough to navigate more than a few steps. It could be a one-year curriculum, offers lots of discussion questions, some tools to try and everywhere the prod of creativity. Without knowing the future, there is no complete answer.
We will look at the Gospel, rediscover the biblical paradigms for evangelism, as distinct from the current failing norms, and the things that work to allow entry to a resistant culture. Without this, the Good News is turning bad. This thinking levers off the workshop series of Makes You Wonder (see appendix).
We will look at the church in context, some of the dynamics that take us against or with the currents of change. Some nice surprises here.
Lastly, in view of the broad ineffectiveness of mainstream clergy, of which I am one, I offer some denominational leadership opportunities. Here addressedtothe Uniting Church in Australia in particular, the articles apply equally in many denominations and cultures.
My prayer for you is that hope and fresh action will emerge. No, actually, my prayer is that you will read and say ‘did not our hearts burn within us’.