In 1980 Tom Sine challenged western Christians in the “Mustard Seed Conspiracy” to use their wealth in small seemingly insignificant ways to make a real difference in the world. He heightened that call in 1999 in “Mustard Seed versus Mac World” when he explored the dangers of Globalism and the consumer culture and suggested ways in which, via the mustard seed metaphor, Christians/the church could respond in Biblical ways.
“The New Conspirators” maintains the metaphor and the call. Written before the GFC occurred, it nevertheless says much to challenge us .
He starts off by taking us on a journey, exploring how “new conspirators” are being and doing church, in what Michael Frost would call this “Exilic” age. Sine explores 4 models: Emerging, Missional, Mosaic and Monastic. I found this section particularly exciting as it revealed ways in which church can be relevant in an age that (in western cultures) is rapidly turning its back on the Christian faith. This section also shows that there is no one answer and that our God given creativity is a key to how we make ourselves relevant.
In the next section Sine asks to what extent globalisation is shaping our culture (and imagination) . This scenario becomes the basis for his call that Christians have been called to create life transforming alternatives – alternatives that take regard for all sections of society – in particular the vulnerable.
He concludes by giving us five imaginative challenges with regard to the world as it is, stewardship, mission, community and entrepreneurship.
This is a challenging book, but unlike many that can be deflating by revealing a disheartening picture that is too immense, Sine’s mustard seed approach, littered with current examples of effective action, is spirit enlivening. If you are challenged by what it means to be a relevant Kingdom worker in this post GFC globalised economy, in which the Kingdom of Christ is being marginalised – take heart and instruction from this book. After all, it only requires a mustard seed.
P.S. This book has handy questions at the end of each chapter that can be used to engender discussion and action.