What have you got against religion?
Religion has a lot of unintended consequences that are very unlike Jesus. It becomes about who is “in” and who is “out.” Therefore, it breeds pride among those who have the “right” doctrinal beliefs. It becomes a brand that you wear; protestant catholic, baptist, methodist, etc., and that breeds division, along with the pride. It becomes about supporting and organization (the local church) and doing and not doing the “right” things. Pride, division, confusing an organization (the church) with a person (Jesus); those are issues for me.
Are you mad at the church?
Yes and no. I get ticked off because what should be the most accepting and grace-oriented place in the world (the church,) often is among the least accepting and very rule-oriented. So many people I love are part of a local church, and love it, or, are at least, bound to the ritual of attending. They are not simpletons. They love Jesus as much as I do. The church thing either works for them, or they are more tolerant of it than I am. They probably have not had the opportunity to pull back and consider the whole thing more objectively. I was kind of forced to do that.
What do you think is the future holds for the church?
Only God knows. Some churches will successfully resist cultural realities for a long time, and there is always a market for that, but it is will grow smaller as time goes on. People will find more meaningful ways to express their spirituality. It might be through the arts, or being more focused on their faith through the normal course of life. Churches will form that will be so stripped down to the core that they will be scarcely recognizable as churches. They will decrease their dependence upon the trappings, like a paid clergy, an expensive building, and structured programs. They may just be friends getting together discussing how to live life loving Jesus and one another.
Why should I buy your book, An Irreligious Faith?
If you see this dissonance between Jesus and the church, this book will validate, inform, and encourage you. The same goes for those who have gotten burned-out in ministry, people who have been asking questions, those who have stepped away from the organization and are trying to figure what’s next, church leaders who believe the church can do a better job, as well as, those who have never considered the church relevant.