Monday, February 4, 2013

Book Review: Finding Church

Finding Church is a book that I had been looking forward to reading ever since I first heard about it. I was excited to read it when it first arrived at my home, and I already encouraged you to buy it. Now that I've completed the book, I'm still glad that I spent the time on it.

This book, edited by Jeremy Myers, offers a fascinating look at various Christians' journeys in finding church. The book's thirty-six chapters are divided into three main sections: leaving church, switching church, and reforming church. The leaving church authors discuss how and why they left the church. They make it clear, however, that they did not leave the church but instead the man-made institution. The contributors who switched churches write about different reasons why they moved from one church to another (and in some cases more). In the final section, the authors talk about how they have been part of reforming the church from the inside out.

While I was reading this book I sensed one primary theme coming from almost all the chapters: searching for community. Regardless of whether the authors left church, switched churches, or were reforming churches, their goal seemed to be the desire to find real community within their church relationships. Some had succeeded in doing so while others had not.

The best aspect of Finding Church is that it offers real accounts of Christ-followers who are looking for authentic relationships. There is nothing fictional here. True stories with real and raw details are what's offered. We see the good, bad, and ugly of church life. I appreciate that even though many of the contributors have gone through difficulties, the book in general offers a balanced view of the church. It is not a text that simply slams the church as we know it.

As for negatives, the book can come across as a bit complainy (not a real word but you know what I mean). However, this is part of the nature of recognizing problems and looking for solutions. My own blog could be called the same. Because this book is an anthology of sorts, there is some repetition. There's no way around this since 36 different people are writing about a fairly narrow topic. Finally, a few of the authors speak positively about homosexuality; one even claims to be bisexual. This is concerning to me because these particular authors are not struggling with homosexual feelings, but instead appear to be approving of the lifestyle. Let me be clear: homosexuality is sin. The scriptures clearly condemn it. As Christians, we should love homosexuals and share the gospel with them. We cannot, however, cave on biblical truth.

As for me personally, I enjoyed the first section of this book the most. That's probably because our family left the institution, too. I resonate with what those authors are saying. That said, I'm glad that not all Christians have left. We also need some who switch and some who stay and reform. I'm thankful for all of these brothers and sisters.

To sum up, Finding Church is worth the expense and the time. You won't agree with all the contributors (since they don't all agree with each other), but you will be challenged by much of what is written. This book is appropriate for all Christian adults. I recommend it.

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