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Rewilding the Church – Steve Aisthorpe

Saint Andrew’s Press ISBN 78071520913 £16.99 207 pages

“Rewilding the church will involve a revolution of small things”.

What a fascinating idea to take the concept of rewilding and applying it to the Church. The author is clearly very enthusiastic about the natural world and the idea of allowing it a bit more space to breathe. Whilst the rewilding theme was fascinating, I wondered at times whether this was a book about environmentalism or the Church.

In 10 chapters the author helps the reader reflect on what the Church could learn from the idea of rewilding, which he describes as “… a radical strategy that allows natural forces to ‘take the driving seat’”

I think it is a big leap from Jesus saying “Look at the birds …” to a whole book on applying rewilding to the church. One of the ways the author seeks to do this is to dot “pause to reflect boxes” throughout this book. These breathing spaces underline the point that the Church needs to leave room for God to shape our practice.

That being said there are many stimulating ideas in this book. My favourite chapter is entitled Simplify: Learning to Travel Light.

Life in church, as life in general get overly complicated. There can be real value in stripping things back to something that is simpler.

The book reminded me of the poem Spiritus by Steve Turner

“I used to think of you as a symphony

Neatly structured, full of no surprises.

Now I see you as a saxophone solo

Blowing wildly into the night, a tongue of fire,

flickering in unrepeated patterns”.

It is important to have some structures because God is God of order. Yet it is also important for the church to have flexible structures. Because God is a God of freedom.

Church leaders will be stimulated, and maybe irritated by this quirky book. 

John Woods is a writer and Bible teacher based in West Sussex

 

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