I feel quite conflicted about this book. For around 80%, I would say I sat reading and nodding in agreement, occasionally reading the same passage over and over again as it just felt so spot on that it was like someone had taken my thoughts and put them on paper.
But then also quite often, it felt like the author was doing exactly what his book was supposed to be criticising, claiming to know what God would want and denouncing the Church as it currently exists as ‘failing’.
He’s an American author, and the book was specifically about the Church in America, which obviously I have no knowledge of, but I imagine that the same thoughts can be applied to the Church across the world.
The main thought of the book is that we have diluted the Jesus of the Bible to a tamer and more palatable Jesus, using him to make ourselves feel better about our lives. And spending our time learning all about Jesus without actually putting into practice the things he was preaching and making the changes that he wanted to in our lives.
I’d love to read this book again in the future and give it another chance, as my faith develops I might find I get a different message from it.
There were a few great quotes that stuck with me, and I’ll share a couple here:
“Who, then, are the best missionaries, the best demonstrators of the gospel? The pastors? No way. We’re ‘paid’ to be religious. I think it is the mortgage brokers, moms, students, janitors, baristas and executives who fill our churches. How does God reach lawyers? By dressing up some of his children as lawyers and putting them to work. How does God reach college students? By dressing up his children as college students and sending them off to school. As Jesus put it in Matthew 28:19, As you are going through life, make disciples of all nations.”
“We say to God, ‘Show me and I’ll believe’. Instead, God says to us ‘Believe, and I’ll show you’. This is the life of following Jesus Christ. We say ‘God, show me your will and I’ll obey you’. God says, ‘Obey me, and I’ll show you my will’. God isn’t looking for a bunch of ‘I should do this because that’s what good Christians do’ kind of people. He is looking for ‘I wouldn’t miss this for the world’ kind of people.”