Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm a pagan...

OK, not really. At least not that I know of.

But here's the latest reading conquests.

Book #39 - Pagan Christianity by Frank Viola and George Barna

This one was on the radar for a while. Then the staff team at the church decided that we were going to have a philosophy of ministry discussion at an upcoming half-day retreat (this Thursday). I had the thought that this might give me some food for thought.

While I'm not sure how much of it will actually contribute to our conversation, or even to my train of thought as I prepare for the discussion, I did find the church history lesson to be somewhat enlightening. And while it's hard to argue with some of the facts of history, I can't say that I agree with every critique that the book levels at where we are currently at in the contemporary church. At the same time I did find myself nodding along (not in a sleepy kind of way) with some of the thoughts and questions raised.

The big idea seems to be that the church has moved away from its New Testament roots and has started to function in such a way that most people have become passive observers in a community where they should be active participants. Lead pastors? Bad? Youth pastors? Bad. Church buildings? Bad. Salaries? Bad. Baptism and Communion? Not bad, but not done the right way. House church? Good.

The concept of house churches seems to be the latest fad (is that too strong of a word?) and while I see a lot of merit to them, I don't know if I would say that we have to throw out everything the church (in it's current western, evangelical understanding) is doing in favor of them.

I've been informed that this is only one book in what's supposed to be an ongoing conversation, so I've been hooked into this now. I can't help but think about the fascinating conversations that could happen as a result of this book.

If anyone else has read it, I'd love to hear your impressions.

Book #40 - Rusty Nail by J.A. Konrath
This just seems somewhat embarrassing and trivial after the last book review, but I read book one and two, so why stop there? I'll save you the details as this has basically become my male equivalent of watching a soap opera.

Book #41 - Dirty Martini by J.A. Konrath
He has a fourth book too, so it was only natural to read this one. Again, I'll spare you the review as it didn't stimulate much in the way of worthy talking points.

1 comment:

Jilliefl1 said...

I've read "Pagan" and thought it was insightful and right on target. It is controversial, but sometimes it's necessary to shake things up a bit when the Body of Christ has veered off course. (Think Martin Luther).

You might want to check out the sequel to “Pagan Christianity?” that's just out. It’s called “Reimagining Church”. It picks up where “Pagan Christianity” left off and continues the conversation. (“Pagan Christianity” was never meant to be a stand alone book; it’s part one of the conversation.) “Reimagining Church” is endorsed by Leonard Sweet, Shane Claiborne, Alan Hirsch, and many others. You can read a sample chapter at
It’s also available on Amazon.com. Frank is also blogging now at http://www.frankviola.wordpress.com. Also, have you seen the spoof video for "Pagan"? Very funny. Check it out at http://youtube.com/watch?v=hslswIal9u4.