When I first started reading Christ Among the Dragons: Finding Our Way Through Cultural Challenges (James Emery White, InterVarsity Press), I thought it was going to be some massive nay saying of modern church contextualization methods. Being familiar with detractors who have serious issues with most contemporary expressions of Christianity, I did not want to read another negative book. However, I am glad I stuck with it because White turned out to be more balanced and fair than I thought. In fact, I found myself agreeing with him about a lot of the issues.
Using the Medieval cartographers method of map making, White launches into this fantastic book on traveling through the unchartered waters of our Postmodern Evangelical age. He writes that Christ is our “true north” and exhorts us that:
The four dimensions…truth, culture, unity, and church—are like the four points of a compass. Together, if properly calibrated and coordinated, they give us a clear sense of direction.
White will touch on all of these issues far too briefly for my tastes but he does a great job of integrating pop culture into his argument (i.e. Stephen Colbert’s use of “truthiness” and references to Penn’s [of Penn and Teller] views on evangelism). The best chapters, in my opinion, cover the issues of loving unity in diversity and polarizations within Christianity. These are issues that gravely concern me because evangelicals are becoming more mean and sarcastic as we become jaded by our churches.
Biblically faithful in his message; I found White to be a reasonable thinker who was willing to embrace both sides of really difficult issues. I too often find myself in the middle, constantly being yelled out by the shrieking extremes on each side of the theological, political, cultural divide. I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone who wanted a basic overview of the dangers and the potential that lay in the margins where Christ is indeed among the dragons.