Trusting the Spirit, by Richard Cimino

Historian Paul Johnson compares religious organizations to icebergs. They move slowly and the changes in them are not easily seen. Yet, as Richard Cimino demonstrates in his study of six renewal movements, the most effective reform of these institutions may come from cyclical, rejuvenating forces configured into groups that slowly adapt themselves to change.

Cimino critically assesses one Jewish, two Roman Catholic and two Protestant organizations, as well as an ecumenical renewal force, and makes careful predictions about their long-term influence. He describes three types of renewal at work within denominational structures. Each has a core identity: the evangelical/charismatic focuses on the personal and experiential; the liturgical/contemplative stresses worship, prayer, meditation and mysticism; and the progressive/liberal emphasizes freedom and relevance.

The author asserts that gradual, internal reformation nurtures and enhances denominational heritages. Concerned people join renewal movements because they fear that the purposes and effectiveness of their tradition is being threatened by slippage and waywardness. These true believers are convinced that the strengths of their church are worth recovering and enhancing. They want their denominations to come alive again.