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Langley, BC, Canada
I love to read. I love books. I like to talk about books and recommend them. I read everything including cereal boxes and junk mail! I heard once that if you're not reading at least 3 books at a time you're not reading enough! This blog will keep track of the books I've read and whether or not I liked them. It will be a little bit of everything from Christian fiction to Science fiction and fantasy. Feel free to participate by suggesting books to review and giving your comments. Occasionally I am given free books by Publishers in exchange for a review. I am not told how to review them or compensated in any way for the review.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer

I often buy a book just because I like the title, and I liked this title. In this case though, I actually knew who Michael Spencer was and that was enough to make me want to pick up this book when I saw the title. Most of my friends know that I am an avid reader of blogs. A couple of years ago, I came across Michael’s blog called The Internet Monk. He was an ex-pastor with a Master’s Degree in Theology. I enjoyed his blog for its honest and often humorous look at Christians and the church. Michael passed away after a brief battle with Cancer, in early 2010. This book had just been finished and was in the process of being published when he died.

Mere Churchianity is written to people who are leaving the church. Michael assumes that these are sincere Christians who love God but who are finding that the church has disconnected somehow from Jesus. The first few chapters describe these types of churches. In this book he’s talking against the churches that have become institutions unto themselves; ones for whom the program is more important than the message. He says these are churches interested more in numbers than individuals and budgets than helping the poor.

As a former church staff person there is much that I agreed with. As a former church staff person responsible for discipleship and leadership training there is much that I disagreed with as I read this book. To read his book you would think that there were no churches all that were worth attending. I happen to know that’s not true. I know there are sincere people on church staffs who want nothing more than for people to know Jesus and to mentor them in their faith. One of my favourite quotes from the books is “You have a mission from your King. The church is called to serve and resource you as you live the Jesus –filled life in the world. (pg. 158) I think that would be a great mission statement for a church, simple and to the point.

While he seems to be applauding people who leave the church to make their own spiritual path he does insist that this must be done in some sort of community. He is not at all insisting that people try to follow Jesus all on their own. He says that a Jesus-shaped Spirituality is both personal and communal.

If you’re easily offended, you might not like this book, but you should probably read it anyway. This book will challenge you and your assumptions about church and Christianity.

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