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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Jim & Casper Go To Church

The book, Jim & Casper Go To Church, was given to me by my buddy, Tim Mauriello. We served together when we were pastors together at Grace Community Church in Noblesville, In (just north of Indianapolis). He read the book along with other leaders of the church. He told me that I would love it and sent me a copy after his mom sent him a second copy of the book (thanks Mrs. Mauriello!).

The book is about an ex-pastor/house painter and an open-minded atheist who team up to the check out some of America's most popular churches along with some others you and may never have heard of before. It was their look into the show, pageantry, "celebritiness", music, preaching, mission and values that the church communicates to not only it's own, but those that "Jesus misses most" - the people who are far away from Him (the lost, unchurched, non-Christians, seekers, or whatever label we use to communicate those "on the other side of the spiritual tracks).

I was mesmerized by the opening chapter through the Q&A at the end of the book. The dialog between these two guys is fascinating. They bring fresh light to modern methods that the church uses to be relevant and contemporary to the world at large...and shake them to the core. Their observations and insight both resonate and rock me at the same time.

I have been more and more cynical about the way the Church does what it does and the why it does what it does for sometime now. Whether it's the push for bigger and brighter or the lack of peace and justice in's leaving a sour aroma in my soul. But it rocks me, too, because there is a part of me that wants to be comfortable, sit back and enjoy my privileged position of knowing God. If I have to really do what Jesus calls of me, well, then, that's an inconvenience me and an interruption to my way of life. And, let's face it, I don't like that. Maybe I should be more cynical about me...hhhmmm.

A couple of high lights for me (of many) are...

1. The question...Is this what Jesus told you guys what to do? This is posed by Matt Casper, the atheist, to Jim Henderson, the ex-pastor, after seeing all these churches and their weekend services. And as I think about that one, I honestly have to go, "Ummm...eeerrr...aaahhh...Well, uuhh..."

2. The conversation...I want to have open, honest, genuine relationships with people not like me in faith. I want to know them not to win them, but to know them and care for them. That is so hard to do these days when even the Christian buzz words and ideas like community and authentic relationships get in my way of going beyond my faith drawn line in the sand to pursue those in my world regardless of their worldview.

I dig this book. Buy it if you want, need, or have a weird liking for getting your cage rattled. Thanks, Timmy. May this book invite us to explore new relationships and challenge us get involved in the Kingdom revolution no matter where it's found - sacred or secular.

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