In The New Conspirators: Creating the Future One Mustard Seed at a Time, Tom Sine paints a picture of the Kingdom of God that is simultaneously very big and very small, in order to help us reimagine our life, faith, church and mission. Sine ties together big ideas such as economics, globalization, politics, wealth, poverty, eschatology, and missiology with real stories of mustard seed conspirators around the world.
Conspirators moves through five conversations as Sine describes “God’s quiet conspiracy and how we can be much more a part of it.” These conversations introduce us to:
- various renewal streams within the church (emerging, missional, mosaic, and monastic)
- the power of the global mall in shaping our values
- a much deeper notion of what it means to live today “by the power of the risen Christ…(and) affirm that a new world has indeed broken into this one”
- the unique challenges the wealthy, middle class, and poor will face in the next ten to fifteen years and how the church can respond creatively
- “new models of whole-life faith, communities of celebration and subversion, ancient liturgies, transformational forms of missional church, new models of social entrepreneurship, and news to party the kingdom 24/7”
This is a weighty book, not only because it clocks in at over 300 pages, but because it asks good questions. Throughout Conspirators, Sine challenges us, for the sake of the church and the world, to reimagine our ideas about life, faith and mission by asking the following questions:
Did we get our eschatology wrong?
Did we get what it means to be a disciple wrong?
Did we get what it means to be a steward wrong?
Did we get what it means to be the church wrong?
Did we get what it means to do mission wrong?
Conspirators is a great resource for anyone asking similar questions. Readers interested in engaging discussions about globalization, economics, and poverty will be grateful that Sine cites authors such as Bill McKibben and Joseph Stiglitz. In writing about what it means to join in the work God is already doing in the world, Sine shares many stories that span the globe — Malawi, Seattle, Australia, New York, the UK, Pakistan, Colorado (and even New Jersey!). Some of the conspirators might be familiar names (e.g., Shane Claiborne, Efrem Smith) but the vast majority are stories of “ordinary radicals” — individuals, families and church communities who are faithfully living into the mission of God in small, very real ways in their neighborhoods and around the world (e.g., HopeHIV, Africycle, KickStart, Michigan Interfaith Power & Light).
Sine invites us to rewrite our story, to dream of something better than lives of luxury and excess:
Instead of simply allowing the architects of the global mall to design the symbols, living arrangements and celebrations of our lives — where following Jesus is trivialized to little more than a devotional afterthought — this is an invitation to be cocreators with God in all areas of life, community and mission. We have the remarkable opportunity to give creative expression to new possibilities that offer a small glimpse of that new creation.
[this review has been cross-posted at the ecclesiacollective.org site]