by Dan Kimball
As one who loves the church, this title was a little hard to face at first. The last thing I'm interested is reading yet another book that takes aim at "organized religion" or Christianity (not that we don't sometimes make ourselves an easy target.) But this is not one of those books, and Dan Kimball is not one to take cheap shots. His genuine and heartfelt love of Jesus and the church gives him legitimacy in approaching this topic. This is particularly so given he serves as pastor in a notoriously liberal college town, Santa Cruz, CA. The book is written to appeal to other people in ministry who, like Dan, love the church.
This book explores the differences people often perceive between what they believe Jesus stands versus their experience or beliefs about church. It's largely based on Dan's conversations with young adults in his community, so the stories and relationships that frame his observations are rich in personal depth. I found this more helpful than looking at statistics alone. While I don't discount the value quantitative data brings to our understanding, it fails to convey the underlying causes. That's where this book shines. It's a healthy and honest assessment and, regardless of what we choose to do with it, we'd be wise to pay attention.