Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Sometimes Unrecognizable Church

I recently was able to review the book Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality and the following is my review:

Been to church, sang the songs, got a few dozen t-shirts. Unfortunately, that's what Christianity has been reduced to in much of America. We get up on Sunday morning, dress in our Sunday best, or if we're in a seeker-friendly church, we'll put on our best pair of jeans and polo, and spend two hours looking perfect.
But we're not perfect, and neither is the person sitting behind us, our cell group leader, nor our pastor.
This is a book I wish existed a few years ago. I went to a friend who was a pastor and asked for something to read that cut out all the clutter of church, something that took us right back to the Person of Jesus. What he recommended was a book that pointed out all the flaws in the institutional church.

Michael Spencer has done a fantastic job of shaving away everything that is not of Jesus. Getting us back to what God had in mind. He understands some people have walked away from the church because of the pretenses that are rampant in the church. I loved how he mentioned that it's fine in prayer requests of the gory details of an ingrown toenail, but we mustn't dare mention personal problems such as rebellious children, mental illness, or a shaky marriage. If we can't turn to the church for help and strength, who can we turn to?
He strips away the idea that if we have issues with the way things are in organized Christianity, it might not be the fact that we are deceived sinners, but we might be seeing something that does need changing. In my own church, something that Spencer has discussed that we have also mentioned from time to time is going out to eat. Yes, the waitress knows we are from church. The way we act, even down to the tip we leave leaves an impression on who we are – and Whose we are. One of my friends often leaves a tip equal to or higher than his meal. He says he doesn't want to leave a bad impression of Christians to our server.

Spencer also recognizes the fact that the Vending Machine Jesus is still the Jesus worshiped in many churches. Worship God and He will give you monetary riches. Of course, there's the more popular trend of worship giving you a great sex life with your spouse. Money and Sex. There really is more that God cares about than those two things.

While this book appears to be church-bashing, it is far from it. He admits we NEED the church but also recognizes that the church is sometimes not living up to what God had in mind.

If this book had been available to me a few years ago, I would likely say it would have been one of the most influential books of my life. However, I struggled with these issues on my own and came to much of the same conclusions that Spencer did. It was fantastic to see in print the very issues I wrestled with and eventually had to come to grips with a church that is not always what God had in mind.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

I would appriciate it if you could CLICK HERE and rank my review.  Thank you so much!

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