Sunday, February 24, 2008

the long awaited book review

here we go! i will try to keep it concise for you ... the book in question is 'Consuming Jesus - beyond race & class divisions in a consumer church' by paul louis metzger.

this book will definitely challenge your perceptions of the church and yourself, causing you to ask tough questions that need honest answers. unfortunately, it was harder to read than i expected. metzger's book is intellectual to the point of reading like a phD dissertation, rather than a book for 'every christian'. i read a lot of books, covering a wide range of intellectual rigor and investment, and this was one of the more difficult to navigate. that being said, the subject matter has long been ignored in the evangelical church and it's about time it saw the light of day. they are the things we do without thinking, the attitudes we hold, many times unacknowledged. this book is the ivy league sister, (if you'll pardon my analogy), of shane claiborne's 'irresistible revolution'. where claiborne's arguments for removing the walls, both literal and figurative, between the races and classes in the church are largely experiential & appeal to the heart, metzger's arguments are founded on history and theology and are clearly directed toward the intellect.

it was fascinating to follow the development of the evangelical movement from it's birth, watching how it unintentionally grew up to be one of the segregated institutions in american society. it's an unbearable tragedy. metzger's call to unity within the broader church, the people who say they love and follow Jesus, is clarion clear, and the last half of the book has many beautiful, concrete things to say about how that is possible. it really did make me want to find ways to bridge gaps, and overcome the cultural (within and without the church) divides between not just myself and other christians, but myself and other people. it's a book i wish senior church leaders everywhere would read - because as a "person in the pew" many of the broader stroke, ideological paradigm changes need to come from the men and women who create the systems of the church...some of which go clearly against the heart of the gospel and the heart of Jesus.

all in all, i absolutley believe the ideas within the pages of this book are something that every christian should be concerned with, and should learn more about. but unless you have a strong intellectual bent, it's not an easy read. but i know you've heard me say it before - worthwhile things are rarely easy.

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