My confession is that I spend entirely too much time around Christians. With the exception of the health club where I work out, I'm not regularly engaged with non-Christians. When I am at the club, I go in, put on my headphones, and work out. Then I go home. So, I'm not engaging too many people there either. I live in a cul desac, and most of my neighbors are Christians. All I can say is that this book was a good smack upside my head.
Kimball shares the encounters he has with people who like Jesus but not the church, and he quotes them. The main issues covered that people don't like about the church are:
The church is an organized religion with a political agenda.With a glance at these issues, if we are honest we have to say, "I can see where that would be their perspective." What made this book so valuable was that Kimball is not trying to bash the church. He is not trying to compromise Scripture, and he challenges Christians to take theological thought seriously. He also offers solutions. To each of these views above we can strive to be:
The church is judgmental and negative.
The church is dominated by males and oppresses females.
The church is homophobic.
The church arrogantly claims all other religions are wrong.
The church is full of fundamentalists who take the whole Bible literally.
The church is an organized community with a heart to serve others.Through his encounters, Kimball discusses how the world is studying the Bible in context and historically often to a greater degree than Christians are. He challenges us to study and have answers available in a respectful dialog that goes beyond "the Bible says it, that settles it."
The church is a positive agent of change loving others as Jesus would.
The church holds women in the highest respect and includes them in the leadership of the church.
The church is a loving and welcoming community.
The church is respectful of other people's belief and faiths.
The church holds beliefs with humility and strives to be thoughtful theologians.
I highly recommend buying or borrowing this book, especially for those in ministry whose engagement with non-Christians has diminished. Even sitting at a book store and skimming it will be of value.
*Picture taken from the Amazon.com web site.