The Hybrid Church in the City : Third Space Thinking book cover
1st Edition

The Hybrid Church in the City
Third Space Thinking

ISBN 9781315239101
Published December 5, 2016 by Routledge
174 Pages

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Book Description

The era of post-colonialism and globalisation has brought new intensities of debate concerning the existence of diversity and plurality, and the need to work in partnerships to resolve major problems of injustice and marginalisation now facing local and global communities. The Church is struggling to connect with the significant economic, political and cultural changes impacting on all types of urban context but especially city centres, inner rings and outer estates and the new ex-urban communities being developed beyond the suburbs. This book argues that theology and the church need to engage more seriously with post-modern reality and thought if points of connection (both theologically and pastorally) are going to be created. The author proposes a sustained engagement with a key concept to emerge from post-modern experience - namely the concept of the Third Space. Drawing on case studies from Europe and the USA primarily, this book examines examples of Third Space methodologies to ask questions about hybrid identities and methods churches might adopt to effectively connect with post-modern cities and civil society. Particular areas of focus by the author include: the role and identity of church in post-modern urban space; the role of public theology in addressing key issues of marginalisation and urbanisation as they impact in the 21st century; the nature and role of local civil society as a local response to globalised patterns of urban, economic, social and cultural change.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction. Part 1 Third Space Thinking: The significance of the Third Space and hybridity for understanding the postmodern world; The hybrid city; Hybrid civil society and hybrid governance. Part 2 Public Theology in the Third Space: Mainstream Christian realism: the foundation for a Third Space social ethics; Radical Christian realism: the springboard for a Third Space social ethics; Towards a Third Space church; Towards a theology of the Third Space; Bibliography; Index.

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Christopher Baker has been Director of Research for the William Temple Foundation since 2003. Prior to that he was the Foundation's Development Officer, a post he has held since 2001. The Foundation's current research programme (2002 - 5) is analysing the rapidly changing nature of urban space in the UK and its impact on emerging understandings of urban sociology and civil society. The research is also reflecting strategically and theologically on emerging patterns of church-based response to these changes, especially with regard to the current political debate about the nature of regeneration and civil society. This research is emerging in several teaching contexts and numerous articles and book chapters (see website - for further details) Chris is also a part-time lecturer at the University of Manchester and a member of the Scargill community - an ecumenical Christian community in North Yorkshire .


'Christopher Baker offers a refreshing and authoritative look at the opportunities and challenges facing the urban church. This book is a great blend of cultural analysis, local voices and theological reflection. It marks a new wave of thinking about what it means to live as people of faith amidst the complexities of the contemporary city'. Elaine Graham, University of Manchester, UK 'In this fascinating and prescient study, Christopher Baker argues for a new kind of engagement and connectedness for theology and the churches. By focussing attention on space, urbanisation and marginalisation, new possibilities for practical theology are opened up that invite a fundamental reconsideration of the churches and their location within post-modern society. This book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the Christianity and culture debate in more depth, and tackle it with imagination, flair and thought'. Martyn Percy, Ripon College Cuddesdon, UK ’... the book should be read by all engaged in serious thought about the future of the church in post-industrial cities.’ Journal of Contemporary Religion ’For those of us who have a passion for expressing a public theology that emerges out of living within blurred boundaries of contemporary urban cultures Christopher Baker's The Hybrid Church in the City is most timely.’ International Journal of Public Theology