On the Edge of Pentecost
by Tom Stuckey, Inspire 2007, 160pp. £9.99, ISBN 978-1-905958-12-2
Tom Stuckey provides us with a spiritual autobiography in this long awaited book. Noting the major influences upon his life we are taken upon a theological journey of transformation. With self-effacing honesty, we are taken beneath the surface of the one whom Rev’d Ron Hoar once introduced as, “Methodism’s prophet.” That prophetic voice challenged us all during Tom’s year as President of Conference and many will search this book to seek to discern where God might be taking us next.
Of course, true to form, this book asks many more questions than it answers. That is Tom’s way. Each chapter concludes with a list of soul searching questions as you are invited to discern the path your journey has taken. This book will, therefore, be a useful resource for home group, staff meeting, preachers’ meeting or personal retreat.
This book calls Christians to become “a spiritual millionaire of Word and Spirit.” As Tom encourages us to view ourselves as On the Edge of Pentecost, he develops the term “liminality” as “a stage betwixt and between” similar to that of a caterpillar moving through the pupa stage of liminality into a butterfly. He explores how we as individuals and as a church are at “a threshold experience of awaiting resurrection and transformation through Word and Spirit.”
The book explores a Trinitarian theology under the headings of a preacher’s theology, charismatic theology and global theology. Shining through is Tom’s passion for the Holy Spirit to anoint the preacher and the one committed to justice. These are not either/or but both/and for the body of Christ. As one who shared in part of this journey of exploration with Tom, he is one who practises what he preaches.
The final section of the book unpacks some of the themes of his Presidential year. Whilst celebrating Fresh Expressions he is looking for a mixed economy church celebrating the new within the old and the old within the new. This restructuring of the church for mission continues the debate within MET and the Connexion at this time.
This book is a page-turner but also disturbing. It calls you into the future, taking theology seriously and claiming our rich inheritance in Christ as we continue a journey of transformation. This book offers hope that God is doing a new thing and even though we may not recognise it, He is preparing us for the future.
Reviewed by Revd Paul Wilson, Chair of MET.