I was sitting on my low-cost flight home from Mission Net, settling down to read Living at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Christian Worldview when the guy in the seat next to me said, ‘Oh, I went to Bible college with one of the authors of that’. This tells you nothing about the book, but it does show that if you get a cheap flight back from a mission conference, you are likely to end up sitting next to a missionary.
Living at the Crossroads is Goheen and Bartholemew’s worthy follow up to their excellent The Drama of Scripture. It is a shortish book, 180 pages or so with another 20 pages of notes and it covers a wide breadth of material. If you are looking for a deep, detailed analysis of post-modernism, this isn’t the book for you. However, if you are looking for an excellent overview of the Biblical Narrative and how it compares and contrasts with the underlying story of western Civilisation, then you can do no better. The book starts with two chapters that introduce the notion of worldview and the stories which underpin our approach to life. They then examine the Biblical worldview briefly (it helps to have read the first book here) and then they look at the story which undergirds Western culture.
This stuff is all very good, but where the book really comes into its own is the final section which looks at what it means to live in Western culture, but to be guided by a Biblical world view. They can’t answer all of life’s problems in such a short space, but they do give an excellent set of tools for developing your own responses to life’s challenges. Short sections on politics, sport and competition, the arts and education are all extremely stimulating and give lots of food for thought. All in all it’s a good book.
From my point of view, the best quote comes from the Pastoral Postscript which closes the book:
In missionary circles, the language of missio Dei (God’s mission) has lately become commonplaces, and this is a welcome emphasis. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, cross cultural missions were corrupted to some degree by the same confidence in human plannin and effort that had infected Western culture from its very roots in the modernist concept of progress. More recently, a chastened missionary community has rediscovered Scripture’s teaching taht we as a church have been taken up into what God is doing in history…
… This is all much bigger than our time in history, our geographical location, our small piece of the world, our feeble efforts. God is at work, and his purposes will be accomplished. We are called only to witness, by the power of His Spirit in our lives, words, and actions, to what he is doing. Thus we can work – and rest – with joy. Such restful and confident joy is in short supply among activists.