THE EMERGENT CHURCH: The Future of Christianity in a Post-bourgeois World by Johann Baptist Metz

THE EMERGENT CHURCH: The Future of Christianity in a Post-bourgeois World

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Somebody watered down Metz's original title (Beyond Bourgeois Religion), but despite its innocuous replacement this is a series of bold, honest essays on religion and politics by a radical Catholic theologian. Metz begins with the assumption that the Church is losing members these days not because it demands too much, but because it demands too little. He calls for a ""basic change of direction,"" a thoroughgoing metanoia that, if implemented, would make affluent Christians throw most of their lifestyle out the window and embrace a sort of Franciscan socialism. This is not merely a question of stuffing the poorbox: while noting that money has become the ""quasi-sacrament of solidarity and sympathy,"" Metz urges his audience (all eight pieces were originally speeches) to take the bourgeois world apart, piece by piece, and build a new one. His model for this process is the Latin American ""basic-community"" (or grass roots) churches. He strongly endorses their liberation theology, citing in particular the work of Nicaraguan ""poet, priest and revolutionary,"" Ernesto Cardenal. Metz views the desperate conditions of life in Latin America as a fratricidal crime of bourgeois economics, and the Church's benign connivance with dictators and multinational corporations as typical of bourgeois religion. Elsewhere Metz has some pointed things to say on Jewish-Christian relations after Auschwitz (observing a recurrent ""Christian incapacity for dismay in the face of disasters""), on the Eucharist as ""bread of survival"" (arguing that it nourishes rebellion against the exploitation of nature, human and non-human), and on various related topics. A cogent manifesto of the Christian Left.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1981
Publisher: Crossroad--dist. by Seabury