The book is a manifesto for a more radical church, inspired by the 'theology of liberation' (Understanding God and Jesus as liberators of earth and humanity, defending the poor and challenging those who exploit the people and the land)
We explore in very practical terms what a 'just church' would look like, and use the stories generated through our experiences in Bradford as examples. The first half of the book looks at the context of our church, its history and details how we use liberation theology to inform our worship and practice.
It argues that a liberated church is both 'dialogical' and 'inclusive'. It is hard to sum these up briefly, but the book is written in clear language, and you won't have to be a theologian to understand it!
The second half is full of the stories from the last five years. It explores, guerrilla gardening; anti-nuclear protests; our support for the people of Burma, Zimbabwe, Venezuela; how we dealt with the English Defence League demonstration; the anti-war movement; Israel and Palestine; Bradford Street Angels (non-violence in a local context); Being spied on by Menwith Hill; Taking on the Legal Loansharks (the Provident is based in Bradford); How to set up a city of sanctuary and resist dawn raids on sanctuary seekers with kids; resisting 'top down' regeneration in our cities; Learning and listening to our interfaith neighbours.
And lots more besides! We've been busy over the last 5 years, and invite the wider church, and the fresh expressions movement to learn from the theology of liberation. I believe that if we are clearly involved in issues of justice, peace, ecology and human rights, the church will be relevant once more. I describe how the church can be part of the movement of movements that will build a better, fairer world.
It's also both funny and tragic, as we struggle to follow our calling into some of the darker paths of humanity. I hope that the suggestions of 'things to do' and the web links and filmography will be helpful too. They have only printed 900 copies, so be quick to buy it, before my mum buys them all!
Come to the launches, and join in the discussion - 'what is a Just Church?'
24th Feb 6pm Waterstones Bradford
28th Feb 5pm St Pauls, Hinsley Hall, Headingly, Leeds
1st March 5pm Waterstones Bradford Uni Branch
21st March 5pm Urban Theology Unit, Sheffield
22nd March 5pm St Pauls Bookshop, York
28th March, Queens, Birmingham
If you can pay for the ticket, I'll come to other parts of the UK too! Or you can come to Bradford 23/24 July, for the 'Practical Liberation Theology Conference' at Desmond Tutu House.
In the meantime, keep occupying those Topshop stores and Barclays Banks - oppose those cutbacks, and keep supporting the brave people of this world who are striving for freedom!