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A Conspiracy of Love: Following Jesus in a Postmodern World

A Conspiracy of Love: Following Jesus in a Postmodern World is the first of three books by Kurt Struckmeyer to be published by Wipf and Stock. It was released in February 2016. The second volume,  An Unorthodox Faith: a New Reformation for a Postmodern World, was released in February 2017. The third book, People of the Way: Passion and Resistance in a Postmodern World is targeted for early 2018.

Back cover description:

Before there were worshippers of Jesus, there were followers of Jesus. Before there were organized churches with creeds and doctrines, there were small communities of love, equality, and sharing dedicated to the practice of Jesus’ teachings and committed to a wholly new way of living.

Today, the churches of the Global North are in decline and younger generations no longer seek meaning there. Traditional “church Christianity” is gradually giving way to some new way of faithful living. From a Nazi prison cell, German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer imagined a future “religionless Christianity” consisting of contemplative prayer and righteous action in the secular world.

A Conspiracy of Love presents the contours of such a faith based on the “way” of Jesus. It calls us to become troublemakers, revolutionaries, seekers of change, and agents of transformation engaged in conspiracies of love to establish justice and peace in a postmodern world. It offers many different people–those who remain in the church,those who have left, and those who have never ventured near–with a life of faith that is meaningful, intelligent, and passionate.

cover

Not just for Christians:

Following Jesus is not just for Christians. The “way” taught by Jesus is not a particularly religious activity. Instead, it is a decisively human activity transcending all religions. It is not a way of believing; it is a way of living. It is centered in human love for one another and is focused on compassionate action toward those in need. It involves our ethics, politics, and economics. The way of Jesus calls us to radical generosity, service, and the pursuit of justice. Jesus offered a vision for humanity’s future called the kingdom of God. It was not about a heavenly afterlife. It was and is about a better world for all people, especially the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the outcast.

The mission and message of Jesus is appealing to many people the world over–those of other religious traditions and those who do not identify with any formal religion. Gandhi reportedly said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Many postmodern people share that belief. The churches of the Global North are in decline and younger generations no longer seek meaning there. Yet, many of the people characterized as “nones” (no religious preference) and “dones” (those who have left the church) still find Jesus and his teachings compelling. Many of those who remain in the church struggle with how to remain faithful to Jesus while rejecting various aspects of orthodox creeds and dogma. Slowly, traditional “church Christianity” is giving way to some new path of living faithfully in the world. German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) called it a “religionless” Christianity consisting of contemplative prayer and righteous action in the secular world.

A Conspiracy of Love offers many different people–those who remain in the church,those who dwell on its margins, those who have left, and those who have never ventured near–with a life of faith that is both intelligent and passionate. It is an invitation to forsake a religion of comfort for a life of challenge, risk, and fulfillment. It is an appeal for all people of passion, zeal, and courage to embrace a life of service, justice,and nonviolence, and by doing so become followers of the “way” of Jesus.

Table of contents:

– preface: losing my religion
– introduction: not just for Christians

part 1: the way of Jesus

– following Jesus
– the two gospels
– the kingdom of God
– a conspiracy of love

part 2: Jesus and the Christ

– the prophetic Jesus
– the apocalyptic Christ

part 3: the path of transformation

– the postmodern world
– the spiritual journey
– cultural nonconformity

part 4: a conspiracy of love

– Bonhoeffer’s vision
– contemplation and action
– the ethics of love
– agents of love

Reviews:

Released in February 2016, A Conspiracy of Love now has two five-star reviews on Amazon.com. Dan Spees calls it “foundational and transcendent”

“This book resonated deeply with me. I’ve long felt that my religious upbringing was incomplete; missing, or at least watering down, the fundamental meaning behind the message that Jesus brought to our world. With material presented in a very logical format and numerous citations to sources this book will surely find a spot as a foundational resource in my library. My first pass through the book resulted in more marked up passages than unmarked. I’m happily going through it a second time to mark up the mark up! A book where every chapter contains quotable material is a rare find. I’m anxiously awaiting Mr. Struckmeyer’s next release.”

Purchase:

Purchase the paperback at Wipf and Stock for $24.00, or at Amazon for $30.00. The Kindle version is $9.99 at Amazon. You can sample this book with Wipf and Stock’s “look inside” feature.

The author:

Kurt Struckmeyer is a writer, theologian, and founder of the Mustard Seed School of Theology. See his website www.followingjesus.org for more information about this and the two other forthcoming books.

Review & Commentary