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God at Ground Level

Reappraising Church Decline in the UK Through the Experience of Grass Roots Communities and Situations


Peter Cruchley-Jones

This book is a collection of essays offering analysis of the experience of contemporary Christianity in the UK ‘from below’, from the perspectives of real situations and people. The authors come from a range of traditions, ‘evangelical’ to ‘liberal’ to Catholic, but all from within the practise and discipline of missiology/anthropology. God at Ground Level aims to discern new insights into the contemporary missiological, theological and ecclesiological debate of today’s church. The crisis of contemporary Christianity is certainly recognised, for it is experienced deeply by many of the contributors to this project. But, each contributor also reveals signs of adaptation to the demands laid on contemporary Christianity that challenge the dominant narrative about church decline. This gives way to a lively, thoughtful and, sometimes, controversial series of perspectives on God and contemporary church that gives us another route into the debates of Christianity, Western culture and Mission.
Contents: Werner Ustorf: Introduction – Martin D. Stringer: Chatting with Gran at her Grave: Ethnography and the Definition of Religion – Gwen Collins: What makes academics tick? – John Burgess: Detecting the Presence of God: Spirituality in a Birmingham church – John Hall: The demise of the institution - the rise of primal religious experience. Insights from twenty-first century youth congregations – Peter McGrail: Reforming Liturgy or Stripping Tradition? – Mark S. Hathorne: God’s City in Wolverhampton – Peter Cruchley-Jones: ‘Like a frog in water slowly being brought to boil?’ Listening for donkeys in the Church in Urban Britain – Peter Cruchley-Jones: Findings. One foot in the grave?