Q: Why did you write An Irreligious Faith?
GH: I kind of had to write it because these thoughts had been swirling around in my head for a few years. I had written things here and there that needed to be put together in a coherent fashion. After going through a major crisis and resultant transformation, I needed to clarify my own thinking. Along the way I had run across a lot of other people who had left the institutional church and were looking for a meaningful way to express their faith. So, I wrote it for them too.
Q: What’s in it?
GH: There are four distinct sections in the book. The common factor is they each take an unorthodox or irreligious approach. Here are the four sections.
- An Irreligious Journey: Coerced into Freedom. This is my story of transition from the pastor who was dedicated to the institutional church to the outsider who was no longer willing to outsource his spiritual expression to an institution, but was looking for something more real and integrated into regular life. This section is real, raw, and honest. It seems to really resonate with readers.
- An Irreligious Jesus: Surprised by His Humanity. This part of the book is a study in contrasts between a counter-intuitive, but compelling Jesus and an institution that often does look much like him. I love writing about Jesus. This is my favorite part of the book.
- An Irreligious Church: Shifted into Reality. Here I write about how the church could look more like Jesus and recover some of its credibility. Pastors and church leaders who think the church can do better will benefit from these practical ideas.
- An Irreligious Life: Adjusted to the New Normal. People who have bowed out of the institutional church and are trying to forge a faith that doesn’t involve them outsourcing their spiritual expression will find some help here. It deals with the transitions and discoveries involved in the process.
Q: Who is it for?
GH: There are some people I had in mind.
- Questioners. A lot of people are in the church, but feel the strain of not fitting in and questioning certain beliefs and practices.
- Leavers. People are leaving the church in increasing numbers, but they are not necessary turning their backs on Jesus.
- Pastors and Church Leaders. They see the shifting attitudes and wonder want is wrong. They believe the church can do better.
- Former Pastors. Pastors deal with unique pressures and are often more in tune with the discordance between Jesus and the church than others, but it can be a challenging decision to choose another course in life. They will find some encouragement here.
- People who Think the Church is Irrelevant. I hope they see a marked contrast between Jesus and the church and are drawn to him.
Q: What’s with the title?
GH: “Irreligious” and “faith” are not words that we normally associate together, but I think they fit together beautifully.
Here are some more questions that we will tackle in a future post:
- What have you got against religion?
- Are you mad at the church?
- What do you think is the future holds for the church?
- How can you express your faith apart from the church?
- What’s next?