Here are a few resources to help you understand what Tony Jones of Emergent is “all about.”
Phil 1:10so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;”
Tony Jones is in the process of getting a Ph.D.in practical theology at Princeton Theological seminary. Previously, he was the Minister to Youth & Young Adults at the Colonial Church of Edina in Minnesota, the church where he grew up. Educated at Dartmouth College and Fuller Seminary, Tony is the author of Postmodern Youth Ministry (YS/Zondervan, 2001), Soul Shaper (YS/Zondervan, 2003), Read, Think, Pray, Live (NavPress, 2003) and Pray (NavPress, 2003). As well as the Emergent Leadership Team, he is a contributing editor for Youthworker, on the Emergent/YS/Zondervan editorial board, and on the Faith as a Way of Life national working group at Yale Divinity School.
Tony Jones on doctrinal divsions
…It becomes an obsession — guarding the borders. That is simply not the ministry of Jesus. It wasn’t the ministry of Paul or Peter. It started to become the ministry of the early Church, and it abated somewhat in the Middle Ages and blew back to life in the time of modernity. For the short duration of time that I have on this planet to do my best to partner with God and build His kingdom, I don’t want to spend it guarding borders. I’d like to spend it inviting people into the kingdom. Statements of faith don’t do they. They’re a modernistic endeavor that I’m not the least bit interested in.
Tony Jones, author of Soul Shaper:
“The first time I introduced this, the kids came in, and I had a candle going and a little incense burning and some Gregorian chant music on the CD player.”
What Is Tony Jones Doing
To Teach Youth?
* Reads only Bible versions that have no chapter or verse numbers, such as The Message.
*Reinvigorates the process of catechism.
*Quite a big fan of lectio divina* Does more and more ancient practices for corporate spirituality. *Stations of the Cross is one we’ve used several times.
This is what “ancient practices” links to:
In the mid-seventies three monks wanted to bring contemplative prayer to Christianity. This is how they did it.»
“They invited to the abbey ecumenically oriented Catholic theologians, an Eastern Zen master, Joshu Roshi Sasaki, who offered week long retreats on Buddhist meditation, and a former Trappist, Paul Marechal, who taught transcendental meditation. The interaction between these Christian monks and practitioners of Eastern meditation helped distill the practice of Christian contemplative prayer into a form that could be easily practiced by a diverse array of “non-monastic” believers: priests, nuns, brothers and lay men and women.” by Joseph G. Sandman (America Magazine 9/9/00)
Zondervan, about Tony Jones’ Soul Shaper:
If you’re unprepared for a book that makes faith come alive in practice, that makes past come alive in the present–and offers these gifts only if you’re willing to spend significant time learning about the church’s powerful, active spiritual heritage (and your place in it), then put this book down now.
Still with us? Good! Because we really don’t want you to miss this book.
Soul Shaper is hands-down the most comprehensive primer on the study and use of spiritual and contemplative practices for the benefit of your teenagers–and especially your own soul.
Inside, author Tony Jones gives wings to his critically acclaimed debut, Postmodern Youth Ministry, by lucidly explaining how you can put postmodern ideas to work by learning powerful disciplines such as–
Sacred Reading The Jesus Prayer The Ignatian Examen The Daily Office Stations of the Cross Sabbath Silence and Solitude Centering Prayer Spiritual Direction The Labyrinth Pilgrimage Service
…and eventually implement them into the life of your youth ministry!
But Jones cautions us all: “These are not gimmicks. This isn’t an Ideas book or a discussion starter book or a great-games-for-over-50-kids-in-a-gym book. This is a strange book. Although it’s about spiritual exercises and their application in the practice of youth ministry, please practice them before you implement them! You won’t come close to learning everything you need to know after reading this book. In fact, you may be a few years from utilizing any of these practices in your youth ministry. But if you find one or two that you incorporate into your rule of life, I’m quite sure that you–and the students God has put into your care–will be eternally changed as a result.”
Complete with unparalleled instruction, deep and rich resources, and a look into Jones’ research, travels, and personal journals as he bathed in the serene light of contemplative Christian spirituality, Soul Shaper is your next best step on the postmodern path.
It was only a week after and with no knowledge of that call that Mark Oestreicher of Youth Specialties flew to Minneapolis and met with Doug Pagitt, Brian McLaren, Dan Kimball, and me to talk about books and conventions. What Marko offered was basically a platform, the very thing that had been lost when the relationship with Leadership Network dried up. Marko came as a friend of the nascent Emergent — that is, he has theological and cultural symathies with what we’re up to — and also as a businessman. Marrying those two aspects of himself, he said this would give Emergent a chance to get the message out through books and conferences, and we said yes.
Now at least the conference aspect of that partnership with YS is ending. But in so many ways, Emergent is no longer in need of a platform. Brian is now among the “25 most influential Evangelical leaders in the U.S.” and is selling truckloads of books. Others are getting lots of requests for book deals and conference speaking, and lots of organizations are waiting in the queue to help Emergent with events and publishing.