Thinking Out Loud

February 14, 2010

Currently Reading: The Meeting of the Waters

When David C. Cook sent me a review copy of a fiction title last month, I immediately shrugged my shoulders sighing, “Boy, have they got the wrong guy.”   I almost felt that way with the arrival this month of what appeared to me to be a missions title.

I grew up in a very missions-focused church.    I’ve heard all the missionary stories, seen all the native costumes, listened to John 3:16 recited in the indigenous tongues, and endured the playing of familiar hymns in foreign languages with decidedly non-western harmonies on a bizarre collection of musical instruments.

In other words, I’ve grown immune to missions in general, and that’s too bad because I ran the danger of completely missing the point of The Meeting of the Waters by Fritz Kling (Cook; March 2010).

In a kind of Future Shock for the global church, Klung points out that what’s happening in missions around the world has massive implications for us in the west.   We are part of a global church where changes are taking place rapidly. Quoting hockey great (and Olympic torchbearer on Friday night) Wayne Gretzky, Kling reminds us, figuratively speaking, that we don’t want to aim for “where the puck is” but rather, “where the puck is going to be.”

Kling also turns our missions concept on its head with the reminder that we in the west are now as much a missionary-receiving culture as well as a missionary-sending culture.  His extensive experience in both the western Church and the third world gives him a somewhat unique perspective.

He also reminds us of the example of Timothy Keller, whose ministry in Manhattan was born out of a need to put a new spin on the term, “unreached people group.”  I loved this quotation from Keller:

For many outsiders or inquirers, the deeds of the church will be far more important than words in gaining plausibility.   The leaders of most towns see ‘word only’ churches as costs to their community, not a value.  Effective churches will be so involved in deeds of mercy and justice that outsiders will say, ‘we cannot do without churches like these.’  [italics added]

I started reading after lunch and — just as I’m being called for supper — I’m already half-way through.   I really hope this title doesn’t get lost in the ‘missions’ section of your local bookstore.    The full title is The Meeting of the Waters:  7 Global Currents That Will Propel The Future Church.

Late in the week, I’ll get back to the book with a look at the seven global currents themselves and why they matter.

Update:  To read part two of this review, click here.

1 Comment »

  1. […] is part two of a review begun on Sunday of a new book by Fritz Kling, The Meeting of the Waters:  7 Global Currents That Will Propel the […]

    Pingback by Seven Currents Affecting The Global Church « Thinking Out Loud — February 19, 2010 @ 5:40 am


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