I am just going to come out and say it, church is broken. So are several other societal institutions. They just aren’t cutting it anymore. As institutions age they forget the reason for their existence of serving people. Eventually, the mission is traded for maintenance. The goal of serving people is subtly shifted to people serving the organization.
Are those statements a generalization? Of course they are, but they are generally true.
Is every local church totally self-absorbed? Of course not. Most are a mixture of messages and practices. Even the more misguided of churches have good intentions and are attended by sincere people.
Does the church generally look much like Jesus? Sadly, it does not.
That’s why people are increasingly becoming uncomfortable with the church as an institution. That’s why they are leaving it or not giving it a second look.
Are these people troublemakers? Not really, though they may well be branded as such since they ask hard, piercing questions that threaten the way things are done. It is a shame that they are ostracized by the church, a place of community, acceptance, and grace. It should be a safe place to ask hard questions, but it isn’t.
Finding Church is full of their stories. You need to read it so you can begin to understand these people as brothers and sisters. If you are one of these “outsiders,” you need to read this book so you know you are not alone.
It is well edited (by Jeremy Myers) and organized into stories of leaving, switching, and reforming church. Jeremy writes in the introduction,
“In several hundred years, historians will view the church of the twenty-first century the way we view the Reformation church of the sixteenth century.”
That expresses well the significance of the current re-thinking of the faith.
Each of the thirty-six short chapters is written by a different contributor, which is the genius of the book. There are some real gems here like Tyson Phillips’ poignant letter to the church, Brian Swan’s confession of addiction to the drug of “Jesus knowledge,” and Mary C. M. Phillips’ tale of Dodge Chargers and jumper cables. There are so many more excellent, personal stories, experiences, and lessons from each of contributors.
One of the chapters is a portion of my story. I hope it is somehow helpful to those who read. I want to thank Jeremy for being a gracious editor and Civitas Press for taking on the project.
It was this writing project that spurred me to write a book of my own entitled, An Irreligious Faith.
There is nothing like a personal story to help us understand.