Monday, November 18, 2013

Exert from the Introduction of "Losing Your Religion"

Well, the book is finally available for purchase.  Thanks for everyone's kind words about it up to this point.  Now we will see what happens with it.

If you'd like to get the book yourself, you can click on the icon to the right (or click here).

Here is a short exert from the introduction that, I hope gives you a better understanding of the heart behind why I wrote this particular book.  Thanks for reading.  Here it is:

"...I’m hoping this book will serve as a mirror to reflect aspects of our church sub-culture that are off base. When I say that, I’m not speaking of other people; I’m speaking about each of us as individuals. We each make up the sub-culture we live in.

I have a growing concern that more and more people who call themselves Christians are unintentionally slitting the wrist of their faith. In a pursuit to be faithful, they try to will themselves into embracing habits and routines and disciplines they believe will cause them to be a “better Christian.” Although this seems like the right thing to do and seems to be the norm for our culture, it’s actually suicidal.
It is this concern that leads me to write this book. I think people are dying to be made alive again in their faith. I know countless people who long to be freed from the religious chains that bind them, yet they cannot seem to put their finger on what chain is actually around their neck.

I’m not claiming to have unleashed any sort of secret formula to the Christian life; nor am I claiming to have all the answers. But one thing I do know: Far too many people think Christianity is simply about agreeing with a certain set of doctrinal points and modifying their behavior or managing their sin to be a better person. 

I claim this idea and thinking as fraudulent. It might not be how we talk about Christianity, but it’s certainly how we practice it. Yet, this couldn’t be further from the faith Jesus invites us to live—and I think deep down we know it. I think people feel the weight of shame and guilt of this system of “doing church.” I know there are many Christians in the world today who don’t feel quite right about their faith and, I would say, with good reason.

To that end, I would like to help you identify and distinguish the faith, love and hope Jesus calls us to live by from the behavior management system we too often refer to as Christianity.

To begin, I want to ask for grace. I write with some very strong language at times—especially in the first section—and I did that to promote deeper thought about how you think about the Christian life. This book will require some introspection on your part. It’s not that what I write is so deep as much as it is hard to see inside yourself...but I don't think it will take long to see how they manifest in your own life.

Well, that's just a brief exert, but hopefully a little understanding of why I wrote this.  If you read it, I hope it's helpful for you.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

3 Things Haunting People - that few can put their finger on

As a pastor I obviously talk with a lot of people.  I usually have 2-3 "meetings" a day where I'm with people from our community.  Now, I'm not the best "counselor" available, to say the least, but I do talk with a lot of people.  Most of them I just consider friends.  And, as friends, we talk about all sorts of things.

Whenever the topic of faith comes up we all have struggles.  All of us have doubts that we think of as an enemy to faith, rather than a catalyst for it.  We all have areas of unbelief, that we somehow let overpower all the areas we can honestly stand firm in.  All of us have these types of struggles when it comes to issues of faith.

But there are 3 things that always seem to haunt people at the core of their being.  3 things that cause people to shrink back from embracing the very things they want to.  Guilt.  Shame.  Fear of what other people think.

You see, these are 3 of the 4 things that religion is founded on.  Whether or not we claim to be a "Christian," none of us want to be chained by this type of religion.  And, even though we may not recognize it in the moment, these 3 things counsel us to make all sorts of decisions that we later regret.

Religion is not necessarily a bad thing, but the kind that is founded on these three things certainly is.  I believe many people are struggling with this religious system, but don't realize just how much it effects them.  It changes the way they think about themselves.  It changes, in unhealthy ways, the way they interact with other people.  And, in my opinion, most unfortunately, it changes the way they view God.

To name just a few unhealthy outcomes of this religious system:
We think we need to be a better person and do more or work harder to get there.
We think others will judge us if we're really honest with them.
We view God as little more than a Santa Claus figure, judging our behavior.

These are the things that led me to write the book, Losing Your Religion.  I want to help bring freedom to these areas in whatever way I can.  I'm certainly not some sort of guru that found a secret to faith and I'm definitely not claiming to have all the answers.  I'm just a guy who has had to work through these three areas in my own life and, because of that, I can now see just how many people are struggling with these same exact things.  I want to help them see it.  But to be free from it, they have to lose their religion.  The good news is, they'll never miss it.

Oh, and the 4th thing that religion is founded on, well, it's you.  I explain that in the book.  I hope you find the book to be helpful.

If you want to read what others are saying about it (including Publishers Weekly), click here.