To my faithful readers and dear friends: I've been in large churches, small churches, tweeny-sized churches. I've done a stint in Baptist churches, non-denominational churches, and now, the Anglican church. In my elementary-school days, I even attended weekly mass at the ornate Catholic church on the corner of Rogers and Garrison. I've worshiped next to old ladies chewing gum and old nuns wearing habits. I've knelt, stood, even prostrated myself once out of some odd holy compunction. I've run the rails--communion and prayer alike--and I suppose what I can say with some certainty is this: I'm a church guy.
There are so many who've been busted up by the church. They've had their knuckles popped by Catholic rulers or heads bashed by oversized Baptist bibles. They've been shamed with and without cause--pre-marital sex, dancing, sneaking a nip of whiskey, whatever. They've been excluded from leadership because they asked the wrong questions or because they wore a bra. They've been pushed into corners--singles groups, over-the-hiller groups, you're-not-my-language groups, whatever. They've been on the blunt end of power, and they can tell you, the blunt end of power leaves mark.
You know this; yes?
I'm a church guy, but I see the fundamental disconnect between the call of Jesus to his followers (divest yourselves of power; become a child) and the all too familiar call of the modern church (solidify power; build your influence, your numbers, by being excellent). Enter the prophets.
Kyle Strobel and Jamin Goggin have written a book that's changing me. In The Way of the Dragon or The Way of The Lamb, they interview the church-sages of our day, sages like J.I. Packer, Dallas Willard, Marva Dawn, John Perkins, Jean Vanier, James Houston, and Eugene Peterson. Along the way, they find the most beautiful truth: [tweetherder text="The way of Jesus, the way of divesting yourself of power, is the soul-freeing, healing way to wholeness."]the way of Jesus, the way of divesting yourself of power, is the soul-freeing, healing way to wholeness.[/tweetherder]
I don't often pop in here to encourage you to buy a book, but today is that day. It's my sincere hope that every deacon, priest, pastor, minister, or church member--anyone in the church with a pulse--will purchase this book straightaway. It's my hope that you'll share a little about it with your friends, that you'll start a church book club, or an online reading group using this book as your discussion fodder. It's my hope that it will change you like it's changing me, and that in turn, it will change the church.
A modest hope; I know.
For the record, I received no compensation for writing this post. These are my honest, genuine, free-of-charge thoughts, so you know I mean business. Do you see my serious eyes? I mean business.
In all things peace,
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