Carol Howard Merritt
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Much has been written about the changing landscape the church finds itself in, and even more about the church's waning influence in our culture. From her vantage point as an under-40 pastor, Carol Howard Merritt, author of Tribal Church, moves away from the handwringing toward a discovery of what ministry in, with, and by a new generation might look like. What does the substance of hope look like right now? What does hope look like when it is framed in a new generation? Motivated by these questions, Merritt writes Reframing Hope with the understanding that we are not creating from nothing the vital ministry of the next generation. Instead, we are working through what we have, sorting out the best parts, acknowledging and healing from the worst, and reframing it all.
She explores the spirit of collaboration that has grown up in our culture as the diffusion of authority continues to move toward a network of sharing resources and information. She shares the spiritual longing she sees in those of her generation and acknowledges that people will no longer settle for one-way preaching and entertaining services—they want their worship to become meaningful; they want their spirituality to lead to action. Merritt believes that if we can manage to navigate many of these important shifts, the years ahead are full of hope, but only if we recognize and welcome the changes that will come and open ourselves to what new adaptations will bring to us.
"Merritt has become an influential voice for and among that growing body of Christians known as the 'hyphenateds' or the 'loyal radicals.' In Reframing Hope, she speaks elegantly and eloquently about the blessings of keeping the treasures of inherited Church even as we move, in our times, toward new ways of being Church. What Merritt gives us here is just autobiographical enough to be easy reading and yet, at the same time, just academic and pastoral enough to be deadly accurate. It is also a clarion call to a revitalized practice within the established traditions of Western Christianity.
—Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence
"If you have been inspired and moved by the writings of Brian McClaren, Phyllis Tickle, and Diana Butler Bass, you must now add Carol Howard Merritt to the mix. Reframing Hope begins to address what so many have known in the 'emergent church' conversations for years: that the mainline church has been and will be a significant factor in the formation of whatever is next for the Protestant church in America. Through thoughtful generational insights, an unmistakable prophetic word, and novelesque narrative style, Reframing Hope is a must for anyone who cares deeply about God’s reality for the church: past, present, and future."
—Bruce Reyes-Chow, Founding Pastor, Mission Bay Community Church, San Francisco, Former Moderator, General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
"Carol Howard Merritt's writing reflects both her prophetic and pastoral calling. She has a welcomed (if unsettling) clarity about where the church is now as well as an inspired vision of where it ought to be. And at the same time, her reader feels the love of a pastor who truly cares for the people of the Church and encouragingly walks with us as we sojourn towards a more liberated and renewed faith.”
—Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Associate Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University
Alban No. AL394
paper, 147 pages
($13.60 for members)