March 29, 2008

Too Many Books Is Tiresome

I'm reading a book currently--well actually several books; nothing unusual there but the one I am referring to is a very popular book written by a Christian and an atheist about "the church."

They traveled around the country checking out all kinds of churches assessing how they do things from the perspective of the atheist. Now, admittedly I am only part way through the book and there are a couple of tid-bits here and there that could be helpful for a church to be in tune with. But overall, the book is becoming a mite annoying.

What the atheist dislikes at one church for one reason, he dislikes at the next church for the opposite reason. At still another church, he still dislikes whatever the thing is in focus, for still another reason. In other words, one church might be "too friendly" and the next church not friendly enough. At still another, the friendliness seemed "too orchestrated" but at the next it seemed too casual and no matter what angle of any aspect of the church the atheist was critiquing, there was almost certainly a "problem" with it.

To make it all even more annoying, this lone atheist's assessment is somehow supposed to be representative of all the unchurched in the land.

It's not that I am sensitive to criticism of the way churches do things either; believe me I am our own worst critic but reading this "Christian" book and another "Christian" book I read a couple weeks back, I was reminded why I don't read very many Christian books at all.

I find they are either repackaged ideas for which there are already 50 different titles on the shelf, they are drivel, or they are someone else's idea of why and how "the church" is supposedly doing it all wrong. If you're big--you should be smaller; if you're small, you should be bigger; if you're into social action, you should be more focused on the Gospel and if you're focused on the Gospel you should be more involved in social action and on and on.

Solomon--WISE old Solomon wrote, "…be warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body." Eccles. 12:12

I'll say, but before you get depressed, picking up the latest, "what's wrong with the church" book on the shelf remember "The Church" was God's idea; He calls it His Bride and we need to be careful about insinuating that "God's girl" is a real dog!


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