Subversive Spirituality: Transforming Mission through the Collapse of Space and Time

By L. Paul Jensen

A study of the relationship between spirituality and mission in a world where the spatial and temporal aspects of life have become increasingly constricted.

ISBN: 9780227173572


Subversive Spirituality links the practice and study of Christian spirituality with Christian mission. It develops a twofold thesis: Firstly, that grace, spiritual disciplines, and mission practices are inseparably linked in the mission of Jesus, of the early church, and of several historical renewal movements, as well as in a contemporary field research sample. Secondly, that amidst the collapse of space and time evidenced by our culture’s increasingly hurried pace of life, more time and space are needed for regular solitary and communal spiritual practices in church, mission, and leadership structures. If Christian mission is to transform people and culture in our time, a subversion of the collapsed spatial and temporal codes that have infected our Christian institutions is required.

Based on the theological, historical, cultural, and field analyses of this study, Paul Jensen proposes a model for spirituality and mission that addresses the collapse of space and time in contemporary living and which has widespread applicability to diverse cultures and eras. Jensen applies this model to the pluralistic and postmodern milieu of North America with recommendations for spirituality and mission in church, mission, and educational structures. He also proposes a derivative model for teaching and practicing spirituality and mission in the academy, which has application for non-formal leadership development structures.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 392

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

L. Paul Jensen is founder and director of The Leadership Institute, in Orange, California, which offers non-formal training in spiritual formation, spiritual direction, and leadership development. He is Assistant Professor of Leadership and Christian Formation as well as an Assistant Professor of Spirituality in Contemporary Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary. He has authored articles on discipleship and spirituality, including several entries in the Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization.


List of Illustrations

1. Introduction
2. The Collapse of Time and Space
3. Jesus’s Rhythms of Spirituality and Mission
4. The Early Church’s Rhythms of Spirituality and Mission
5. Rhythms of Spirituality and Mission in the Modern Age
6. Rhythms of Spirituality and Mission in the Postmodern Age
7. Conclusion

A. Some Contemporary Definitions of Spirituality
B. What Is a Spiritual Discipline?
C. Physical Symptoms, Psychological Signs, and Underlying Beliefs of Time Pathologies
D. Luke’s Gospel, Part A: Jesus’s Rhythms of Spirituality and Mission
E. Luke’s Gospel, Part B: Jesus’s Rhythms of Spirituality and Mission
F. Three Branches of Spiritual Theology
G. Summary of Rhythms of Spirituality and Mission in the Devotio Moderna
H. Summary of Rhythms of Spirituality and Mission in Ignatius and the Early Jesuits
I. Journey to Reach the Next Generations: Project Questionnaire
J. Suggestions for Extended Personal Communion with God

References Cited
Scripture Index
Subject Index


Endorsements and Reviews

This wide-ranging and groundbreaking book provides an answer which will open eyes, minds, and hearts to an integrated vision of Christian discipleship, spirituality, and mission. Jensen’s work is rooted in history but open to God’s future, grounded in prayer and devotion while grappling with hard-edged practical questions. This is a book all of us in Christian leadership need to learn from if we are to be equipped for God’s mission in tomorrow’s world.
N.T. Wright, Bishop of Durham, Church of England

This is the book that I’ve been waiting for in my own teaching. … Paul Jensen’s lucid, scholarly, and empowering book calls us back to a transforming spirituality which nourishes and empowers God’s people for the Kingdom mission into which Jesus sent all his followers with grace, love, and power.
Stephen A. Hayner, President of Columbia Theological Seminary and former President, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

This is an important book. Jensen is dealing with issues that others are not and doing so in ways that challenge the church and lure us into new openness to intimacy with God. He connects the world of ancient spiritual practices with the world of constant communication and instant gratification. Dr. Jensen helps us to find the stillness we need in which to open ourselves to God so as to be renewed in ways that enable us to engage in mission. … This is no ordinary book, but one which needs to be made available to a wide audience of theorists and practitioners in academic, church, and missional communities.
Richard Peace, Fuller Theological Seminary

At the very outset, one can see that Jensen has taken on an ambitious project. It not only covers a wide range of thinkers that span more than two millennia, but addresses a complex array of ideas. … Jensen’s research is consistently rigorous and his powers of comparison and analysis superior. I highly recommend this provocative and important study.
James Bradley, Geoffrey W. Bromiley Professor of Church History, Fuller Theological Seminary

Some thinkers teach us by digging deeply into a specialized area and discovering new facts and insights. Others change us by explaining new connections and relationships that not only enlighten our minds, but also change what we do. Jensen’s book is of the latter type. Backed by a sweeping panorama of historical and biblical material, he urges us to change our lives and our world by connecting the spiritual life and mission in a holistic, fresh way.
Jon L. Dybdahl, Professor of Mission, Andrews University, and former president of Walla Walla University

Jensen argues that various complex factors have conspired to disconnect Christian mission from spirituality, and describes what God is doing to reconnect them. Among the conspiring factors, he counts fascination with spiritualities other than Christian and the opportunity to be connected instantly with them through the Internet, the recognition that Western culture represents a cross-cultural challenge to mission, the hurried pace of life that separates outward mission from inner spirituality, and the disappearances of spaces and places conducive to meaningful relationships and community. The theme of rhythm ties it all together.
Reference & Research Book News, October 2011

The highlights of the book are his treatment of the early church and modern examples of subversive spirituality … Jensen [provides] a helpful sketch of the spiritual pursuits of young people who are the future of the church. He concludes that the church desperately needs increased space and time with God until He fills us with love and joy. Jensen hopes that readers will come away from Subversive Spirituality with a renewed passion for ‘Communion, Community and Ministry’ – the prescription for the hurry sickness of our culture.
Craig Stephans, in Theological Book Review, Vol 23, No 2

[This book] is built on a theological, historical, cultural, and field analysis, both of contemporary Western culture and Christian institutions, to propose a model for spirituality and mission that subverts the collapsed spatial and temporal codes that have infiltrated and affected societal and Christian identity. … For anyone wishing to engage with the burgeoning theme of spirituality and Christian mission, this book needs to be consulted. It offers uniquely good ideas, albeit at times sophisticatedly expressed, invaluable research material, and powerful critiques of many relevant issues.
Barry Linney, in Reviews in Religion and Theology, Vol 19, Issue 4