Professor Andrew Root, Carrie Olson Baalson Chair of Youth and Family Ministry at Luther Seminary, is author of “The Congregation in a Secular Age: Keeping Sacred Time Against the Speed of Modern Life.” Published in January, this is the final book in his three-volume set on ministry in a secular age. We reviewed the second book in the series, “The Pastor in a Secular Age,” in June 2019.
In this book, Root writes about the pressure our modern, secular age exerts on individuals and congregations to stay relevant. Drawing on the work of sociologist Hartmut Rosa, Root asserts that resonance is the antidote to our depressing inability to keep up with the constant change needed for relevance. We experience resonance when we feel a sense of connection with a person, with nature, or with a work of art. Connections such as these give us a sense of fullness that cannot be found in the busy pursuit of relevance.
Ryan McAnnally-Linz, associate director of the Yale Center for Faith and Culture, writes, “Root is an expert reader of contemporary church life. He deftly distills complex philosophical, historical, and sociological scholarship and delivers what his readers need to know. And Root’s constructive proposals challenge churches and individuals to rethink their relationship to time and busyness. ‘The Congregation in a Secular Age’ will leave many readers wondering just how Root knows them and their congregations so well. This book is a valuable resource to anyone who has the nagging feeling that there’s never enough time.”