Colors of God: Conversations about Being The Church


The tag-line on the back of this book says, “OK, so the church is broken, now what?” As soon as I saw that line, I was drawn into a discussion. The majority of books coming out of the “emergent” movement have been very good at describing what is broken about the church. They’ve even done a good job at breaking some of the mainstays of the church as it comes out of modernity. What has been lacking in most books, however, has been discussions about the “now what?”

So, the authors of this book aim to address the “now what” question. They address this question by telling the story of their departure from a more traditional church and their efforts to birth a new expression of church which they call nexus (, located in Canada. In a conversational style (each author taking turns speaking) the authors share their personal experiences and describing their ecclesiology and how that is played out in their church.

To begin, the authors share how they no longer feel like they fit in the Evangelical Movement. As I read these sections of the book, I felt drawn back to a previous book I reviewed, specifically The Naked Gospel, by Andrew Farley. Like Farley, the authors react to the highly legalistic trends in much of the Evangelical Movement, instead opting for what I would call “radical grace.” They (both Farley and the authors of this book) make it clear that pleasing or impressing God is not the aim of the Christian faith. Rather, Christianity is about God’s work of redemption and sanctification.

Unfortunately, the authors of the Colors of God did not clearly talk about the transformational work of grace (as did Farely). They are correct, in my opinion, that a person’s relationship with God “doesn’t need management” (on our part). What they fail to clearly state that it DOES requirement management from God. That’s the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. That’s not to say that humans are passive in the process, but rather that faith is the constant surrender of the self to the work of God.

The bulk of the book following the authors time of “story sharing” has to do with the development of neXus and how their non-legalistic, emergent style and theology is played out in that fellowship. At this point, they begin to speak Colors. Four primary colors are identified as being expressions of what is primary about faith and practice of neXus. These are not to be understood as creedal formulas, but rather the base from which the congregation expresses its ecclesiology.

Blue refers to FAITH in the finished work of grace in Jesus Christ, through which we find rest in the knowledge that we are loved, accepted, and offer peace with God.

Green is the color of HEALTHY LIVING. The scriptures offers guidance, the authors says, that directs us to spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical health and well-being. These are all intertwine, valid, and necessary, according the neXus community.

Red is the color of COMMUNITY. Such community, as a fulfillment of the Gospel, is inclusive and diverse, characterize by the biblical virtues of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control.

Yellow is the color of CULTURE. neXus aims to be meaningfully engaged in its culture. Their understanding is that God is already intimately connected and actively involved in culture. To not be engaged in culture, then, disconnects them from experiencing a full expression of God, while also hindering their efforts to embody and proclaim the Gospel.

As I read this book, I was struck by the Anabaptist flavor of their ecclesiology. Sure enough, when visiting their website at you will find a series of sermons drawing on the Anabaptist tradition as foundation to their life together as a faith community. I have been writing extensively on my own blog ( about the idea that the Anabaptist tradition has a great deal to offer churches emerging from post-modernity. Feel free to read my posts under the subject: “the transition zone.”

While the book has some flaws, I still feel it is an excellent read and I highly recommend it.

This review can also be seen at 

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