The Church Is Flat – Now Available

The Church Is Flat – Now Available August 10, 2011

My latest book, which is a lightly emended version of my dissertation, is now available.  It’s called, The Church Is Flat: The Relational Ecclesiology of the Emerging Church Movement.  In it, I take my research — both qualitative and quantitative — into eight emergent congregations and put it into conversation with the ecclesiology of Jürgen Moltmann.

The Church Is Flat is available only in electronic form at this time.  If you’re unfamiliar with ebooks, they’re quite easy to read — for instance, you can download a FREE Kindle reading app to your PC, Mac, tablet, or smartphone.  (Or, you could buy a Kindle — I was given one as a gift, and I love it!)  Then, with a couple clicks, you’ll be reading the book!

Purchase The Church Is Flat on Amazon

It’s also available for the Nook at Barnes & Noble.

As a teaser, the table of contents is below:



Note to Readers

Chapter One: The Emerging Church Movement and the Project of Practical Theology Introduction

The “Emerging Church Movement”—A Working Definition

Literature Review

The Emerging Church Movement as a New Social Movement

A Consensus Equilibrium Approach to Practical Theology

The Promise of Transversal Rationality for the ECM


Chapter Two: An Inside Look at Eight Emerging Churches

The Changes in American Protestantism Leading to the Emerging Church Movement

Developments in the 1990s—Three Phases of the Emerging Church Movement

Empirical Research Method

Cedar Ridge Community Church, Spencerville, Maryland

Solomon’s Porch, Minneapolis, Minnesota

House of Mercy, St. Paul, Minnesota

Journey, Dallas, Texas

Pathways Church, Denver, Colorado

Church of the Apostles, Seattle, Washington

Jacob’s Well, Kansas City, Missouri

Vintage Faith Church, Santa Cruz, California

Initial Observations


Chapter Three: Defining “Practice” and the Core Practices of the Emerging Church Movement

Alasdair MacIntyre and a Neo-Aristotelian Concept of Practice

Jeffrey Stout and the Pragmatist Concept of Practice

Pierre Bourdieu: Strategies, Rules, Force Fields, and Practice

The Limits of “Practice”

Using “Practice” to Investigate the ECM

Communities of Practice and the Promise of Ambiguity

Practices of the Emerging Church Movement

Concrete Practices

Practices of Virtue

Initial Observations


Chapter Four: The Relational Ecclesiology of Jürgen Moltmann in Conversation with the Emerging Church Movement

An Overview of Moltmann’s Theological Project

Moltmann in Dialogue with Practical Theology

Moltmann’s Early Ecclesiology

“Friend” as Christological Office

Moltmann’s Later Ecclesiology

Social Trinity as the Basis for a Relational Ecclesiology

Weaknesses in Moltmann’s Ecclesiology

Moltmann and the Emerging Church Movement in Mutual Critique

Political Ecclesiology and Practices of Social Engagement


Chapter Five: Pragmatic Suggestions for a Relational Ecclesiology in the Emerging Church Movement

Defining “Relational Ecclesiology”

Practices of a New Social Movement

Theological Commitments and Related Ecclesial Practices

Panentheism and Sacraments of Life

Social Trinity and Practices of Relationality

The Christological Office of “Friend” and Practices of Public Friendship

A Communal Hermeneutic and Practices of Interpretation

Gleanings for the Enterprise of Practical Theology



Appendix A: Focus Group and Interview Lines Of Questioning

Focus Group Line of Questioning

Line of Questioning: Founding Pastor Interview

Line of Questioning: Layperson Interview

Appendix B: Church Census Survey

Appendix C: Empirical Data

Appendix D: An Excursus on Modes of Cross-Disciplinary Thinking in Practical Theology


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