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About the Author

Andrew Root (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is carrie Olson Baalson Professor of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary. He has written numerous books, including Faith Formation in a Secular Age, The Pastor in a Secular Age, and The Congregation in a Secular Age.


Obras de Andrew Root

The Theological Turn in Youth Ministry (2011) 81 cópias, 1 resenha
Nerdycorn (2021) 41 cópias, 2 resenhas

Associated Works

Opening the Field of Practical Theology: An Introduction (2014) — Contribuinte — 27 cópias


Conhecimento Comum

Nome de batismo
Root, Andrew
Outros nomes
Data de nascimento



Andrew Root’s whole “Ministry in a Secular Age” series is a must read for Christians who want to get a handle on what time it is and significant reconsiderations of who we are, what we are about, and what we are doing. This concluding volume, The Church in an Age of Secular Mysticisms: Why Spiritualities Without God Fail to Transform Us, does not disappoint.

I always find it challenging to review works by Root in this series because there’s so much going on and it’s nearly impossible for me to keep it all straight. But here goes.

Root interlaces his experiences over the past few years, concluding in a gut-wrenching way, and in the process explains his interest in and consideration of what he deems “secular mysticisms.” In this he recognizes how modern Western society remains God- and spirituality-haunted, and the “secular mysticisms” are the ways in which many in society end up exploring spirituality in a secular age.

There are three main streams of mystical thought in this age: a “humanist” strand, a “counter-enlightenment” strand, and the “Beyonder” strand, according to his framework. He explains all three: the “humanist” one prevalent in liberalism and the pursuit of social justice; the "counter-enlightenment” as the one prevalent in conservatism in its current expressions; and the way he will advocate, the way of the “beyonder.”

He does well at showing how despite all their differences, the “humanist” and the “coutner-enlightenment” forms of secular mysticism all end up making it about the self and the development of the self, and in this he finds their great failings. He spends much time in the thought of Bul, Luther, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, Rosenzweig, and others in expressing these limitations and encouraging cultivation of the “Beyonder” type of mysticism.

The “Beyonder” perceives a God greater than he or she and thus looks beyond him or herself in this kind of mysticism. In the end, the mystical path of the “Beyonder” is a kind of holy resignation, a submission to that which is beyond them and anything they could imagine. It’s a confession the self can only imagine, improve, and do so much.

As with all the books in the “Ministry in a Secular Age” series, it’s nearly impossible to do it any kind of justice in a short review. There’s a lot to process and consider here, and much that is profitable.
… (mais)
deusvitae | Jan 29, 2024 |
Part of the author's series regarding how Christianity can look and work in our secular age; in this work he focuses on the emphasis on "innovation" and "entrepreneurship."

Throughout the book the author explains his connections in a denominational organization with various characters, all of whom want to move forward in ministry and be effective, but with varying commitments to "innovation." One guy is reactionary against such things; one seems to be a potent evangelist for it; another is a higher level official who is trying to leverage the spirit of the age to advance the mission.

Yet the author throughout has his misgivings about the entire impetus toward "innovation." He does so not from a Luddite or reactionary posture but instead considers the recent history of how we have reached the place where creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation are prized above all other things. Part of this story is the greater insecurity but "freedom" granted ever since the collapse of the bureaucratized workplace of the 1940s to the 1970s; a lot of the story is how capitalism manifests all kinds of internal contradictions regarding consumption and creativity and thus questions using what works for business as a model for what should work for Christians and churches. He speaks of the exhaustion brought by the constant pursuit of continual innovation, the over-valuation of the self when creativity is honored above all, and how attempting to foster creativity and innovation can many times backfire.

The story does not turn out as expected; the innovation evangelist leaves ministry; a dynamic small group looking to creatively innovate implodes and hinders the faith development of many of the young people working in it. The author looks toward the path of the mystics to help us find a way beyond innovation and creativity and the boxes they force us into in late capitalism.

A lot to chew on. Good critique of the continual attempts to use business insights to direct the way forward for Christians and churches. Definitely worth consideration.

**--galley received as part of early review program
… (mais)
deusvitae | Dec 8, 2022 |
An engaging interlaced series of stories, biographies, and theology attempting to address how congregations might thrive in the present day.

The author began by lamenting how he was eating at a restaurant bar which had formerly been a church. He told a story of how the church had attempted to reach out to its community but fell apart. He then reimagines the story of the church if they could have found a way to succeed.

This reimagination is done in terms of Barthian theology. The author goes into great detail regarding regarding Barth's intellectual and theological development with great emphasis on his engagement with the Blumhardts.

The author also will discuss Helmut Rosa's sociology in turn.

The author thus encourages Christians to consider how they bear witness and to see themselves as maintaining a level of energy. Effort might expend that energy, but to what end? It may be better to stand and wait for God to move, to seek to perceive how God will prove to be God and work in their midst. God may then work powerfully in their midst and empower effective witness through His Spirit.

This is a really compelling book and a very needed antidote to the consumeristic church model of our day. Consider it well.

**--galley received as part of early review program
… (mais)
deusvitae | Aug 8, 2022 |
I didn't get much out of this book. It is basically a collection of essays by two theologists who reflect upon various aspects of youth ministry. They would describe an aspect of youth ministry, point out some problems of this aspect, and propose a new way/attitude toward this aspect of youth ministry. I had difficulty connecting with the problems they identify, though. For example, one essay said taking youth to the mountains and encouraging them to know more about God through experiencing nature is problematic, because nature is not only beautiful, nature is also to be feared and revered. I assume the author believes it's wrong to see God as both beautiful and a presence to be feared. But I don't comprehend why the author holds this belief @@ There are many, many other similar cases in which I couldn't comprehend why the author sees something as problematic or unsatisfactory. One thing from the essays that did leave an impression on me is that all youth (actually, adults too) are undergoing a "crisis." This crisis, which can come in many forms, ultimately is the result of the inconvenient truth that humanity cannot be immune to death. Thus the youth pastor should help the congregation connect the crisis they experience to Christ's suffering on the cross (instead of explaining theology in abstract terms).… (mais)
CathyChou | Mar 11, 2022 |


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