I don’t think there are many Christians who have escaped the church unscathed. Most of us have been on the receiving end of gossip, judgment, unjust accusations, rejection, hypocrisy, even spiritual, emotional or physical abuse—all at the hands of people who by their own definition (Christ followers) should be the last to judge, criticise, reject or misuse. Is it any wonder that people are turning to Christ but rejecting Christianity, when Christianity is riddled with harsh churches and GOD HATES FAGS pickets? Or worse—abandoning Christ because of Christianity?
Two interesting reads in this regard. The first is Dan Kimball’s Adventures in Churchland, which tackles this trend by challenging churches to rediscover their Christ roots. Their Christ roots, not their Christian roots. He wants churches to get back to judging…but the right kind of judging: loving action to help people in their walks with God, not the legalistic rejection of practices that don’t align with their own view of scripture.
The second is Dave Burchett’s When Bad Christians Happen to Good People. His approach is more humorous than Kimball’s, but the same basic message prevails. He points out that in the early church, the people who believed in Christ were called disciples, not Christians. And maybe a little something (well, a lot of something) went missing in the eventual transition. That’s what we need to get back if we want our churches not to work (most churches’ biggest concern nowadays) but to serve.
Both books are interesting reads peppered liberally with personal experience and practical advice. Perhaps some people won’t read them because “they’ve been saved” or are actively involved with a church with no problems, but that’s missing the point of these books: they’re as much for the apostle as the apostate.
– – – – –
Note: While my review is an honest reflection of my opinion on the books, I should mention that I received free copies in exchange for a review. Dan Kimball’s Adventures in Churchland I got from NetGalley and Dave Burchett’s When Bad Christians Happen to Good People from Waterbrook Multnomah.