I am always looking for some book that will open up the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a new way. That will help me see Our Lord and His message in a new way that will help me in following Jesus today and how I can be a living example of the gospel of Grace. Two books have done that vibrantly—Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality by Michael Spencer and The Underground Church: Reclaiming the Subversive Way of Jesus by Robin Meyers.
We will look at both. First The Underground Church.
The Underground Church proposes that the faithful recapture the spirit of the early church with its emphasis on what Christians do rather than what they believe. Prominent progressive writer and Minister Robin Meyers proposes that the best way to recapture the spirit of the early Christian church is to recognize that following Jesus was and must be again subversive in the best sense of the word because the gospel taken seriously turns the world upside down. The book is a call for the church to return to its subversive base.
According to Meyers, few wake up on Sunday mornings with a real sense of longing or anticipation for what might happen in the sanctuary. They expect little more from worship than social respectability, often wrapped in the air of dull familiarity; the last thing anyone thinks about church is that it might be dangerous. Meyers aims to put the “dangerous” back into church by advocating a number of practices that would make both liberals and conservatives uncomfortable. Among them advocating pacifism, embodying radical trust, working co-operatively with others, subversively engaging with the dominant culture, refusing to accept money from the government, lending money at no interest to members of the church community, and caring for the environment.
For me the best chapter was Chapter 7: Leavening the imperial loaf. In that chapter using Matthew 13:3 he shows how the church can and should be the corrupting agent in the world slowly making the world look more and more like the Kingdom of God. He describes in detail what it could look like to live your faith and follow Jesus in all your actions. He points out how subversive this often over looked parable is and how transforming for individuals and the church as a whole.
Mere Churchianity is a much-needed book. It is an honest, refreshing, and helpful book on discipleship. It also outlines who Jesus is and what it means to follow him. In a church on well on its way towards becoming more secularized and dealing with more people leaving because of “fake” Christians, this book is much needed, both in and out of the church. Spencer discovered many who leave the church do so in an attempt to find Jesus. For years on his blog, Spencer showed de-churched readers how to practice faith without the distractions of religious institutions. In his last message available in Mere Churchianity, all can benefit from the biblical wisdom and compassionate teaching that always have been hallmarks of his ministry. The best book about Jesus and what it means to follow Jesus that I have read this year. It would be a good read for both the new or old Christian, for the staying and leaving Christian. It can add depth and meaning to your faith. This book reads as a conversation moving from theory to application and a demonstration of how to live in the “real world” given these many thoughts and observations. It’s a powerful statement made even more powerful because it was Michael’s last as sadly, he died in 2010.
These are just two powerful Jesus books. Have you read any good books about Jesus and His gospel recently?
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