Subversive Spirituality links the practice and study of Christian spirituality with Christian mission. It develops a twofold thesis: grace, spiritual disciplines, and mission practices are inseparably linked in the mission of Jesus, of the early church, and of several historical renewal movements, as well as in a contemporary field research sample; and amidst the collapse of space and time evidenced by our culture's increasingly hurried pace of life, more time and space are needed for regular solitary and communal spiritual practices in church, mission, and leadership structures if Christian mission is to transform people and culture in our time. This requires a subversion of the collapsed spatial and temporal codes that have infected our Christian institutions. Jensen employs methods and approaches from a variety of academic disciplines to explore both spirituality in terms of space and time and mission in terms of deed and word. Specifically, Jensen examines the spirituality and mission of Jesus, the early church, the apostolic fathers, Origen, the Devotio Moderna, the early Jesuits, David Brainerd, and several women in 19th century Protestant missions. He considers the spirituality and mission that have arisen within the postmodern generations born after 1960. Based on the theological, historical, cultural, and field analyses of this study, a model for spirituality and mission is proposed. The model addresses the contemporary collapse of space and time and appears to have widespread applicability to diverse cultures and eras. Jensen's model is applied to the pluralistic and postmodern milieu of North America with recommendations for spirituality and mission in church, mission, and educational structures. A derivative model for teaching and practicing spirituality and mission in the academy, which also has application for non-formal leadership development structures, is also proposed.
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L. Paul Jensen is founder and director of The Leadership Institute, in Orange, California, which offers non-formal training in spiritual formation, spiritual direction, and leadership development. He is Assistant Professor of Leadership and Christian Formation as well as an Assistant Professor of Spirituality in Contemporary Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. He has authored articles on discipleship and spirituality, including several entries in the Encyclopaedia of Christian Civilization.Review:
"Jensen (leadership and Christian formation, Fuller Theological Seminary, California) argues that various complex factors have conspired to disconnect Christian mission from spirituality, and describes what God is doing to reconnect them. Among the conspiring factors, he counts fascination with spiritualities other than Christian and the opportunity to be connected instantly with them through the Internet, the recognition that Western culture represents a cross-cultural challenge to mission, the hurried pace of life that separates outward mission from inner spirituality, and the disappearances of spaces and places conducive to meaningful relationships and community. The theme of rhythm ties it all together." Book News Inc., Reference - Research Book News - October 2011 'The highlights of the book are his treatment of the early church and modern examples of subversive spirituality ... Jensen [provides] a helpful sketch of the spiritual pursuits of young people who are the future of the church. He concludes that the church desperately needs increased space and time with God until He fills us with love and joy. Jensen hopes that readers will come away from Subversive Spirituality with a renewed passion for 'Communion, Community and Ministry' - the prescription for the hurry sickness of our culture.' Craig Stephans in Theological Book Review Vol. 23, No. 2, 2011. 'This is book fulsome. It is built on a theological, historical, cultural, and field analysis, both of contemporary Western culture and Christian institutions, to propose a model for spirituality and mission that subverts the collapsed spatial and temporal codes that have infiltrated and affected societal and Christian identity. (...) For anyone wishing to engage with the burgeoning theme of spirituality and Christian mission, this book needs to be consulted. It offers uniquely good ideas, albeit at times sophisticatedly expressed, invaluable research material, and powerful critiques of many relevant issues.' Barry Linney in Reviews in Religion and Theology, Vol. 19, Issue 4.
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