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Merely Reading

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I was reading Pete Wilson’s blog today at Without Wax and he was highlighting an excerpt from Michael Spencer’s book, Mere Churchianity.  Please stop by Pete’s blog and join in the discussion.

When I had visited Pete’s blog this morning I hadn’t realized who the author of the book was because I have always known Michael Spencer as the Internet Monk.  I have enjoyed Michael’s blog as supported by my linking his site in my blog roll.  I haven’t been spending much time in blog land this spring so I was unaware that Michael had passed away until I read Pete’s post and made the connection to the person behind the Internet Monk blog.  It was a surreal moment.

When I arrived home this evening I picked up my Nook and downloaded the book.  I want to share a portion of what Michael shares in his book that resonates with me:

There’s no way to keep going on this adventure of making Jesus my only Lord and God without the community of Jesus around me, attempting the same project.  None of us can do this alone.

What I need is a personal transformation by the real Christ, not the one that is manufactured by organized Christianity.  I need to be changed by the Jesus who never agrees to be quiet and cooperative. I also need a movement of culture-resisting, church suspicious rebels and Jesus-followers who have taken the same view of religion that Jesus took in His scorching denouncements of religious phoniness.

I’m swimming in a sea of mediocrity, worshiping in a church captivated by consumerism, and deeply affected by a skewed view of God that the bible would call petty idolatry.  My life frequently sucks, and I sometimes wonder why Jesus doesn’t send me a note asking whose holy book I’ve been reading.  I need a ragtag family of Jesus-shaped disciples to pull me out when I’m floundering and teach me how to swim with the Lord of the universe in these putrid and dangerous cultural waters.

I need to read and hear the Bible taught with the passionate integrity of Jesus, not the manipulation and misrepresentation of modern Christianity-lite.  I need a commitment to the Bible that is unapologetically Jesus centered.  I don’t need to hear about a magic book of life principles for suburban success.

I need some truthful talk – not safely scripted chitchat – about what it means to follow Jesus.  I want a place where I am allowed to raise my questions and verbalize my struggles, a place where I can mess up and be prayed for, and I want to be able to stumble and still be accepted on the team.  I need to see and know real human beings who have walked the path of hard choices and hard times in order to remain faithful to Jesus.

I need a cadre of friends who pray like Jesus, who step across the lines to include outcasts, and who open the Lord’s Table to those Jesus invited to that table.  I need fellow students who hold the ancient faith of the church in their minds and the mission of Jesus in their hearts.

The only comment that I have for that passage in the book is, ‘Amen’.

  1. July 14, 2010 at 8:39 am

    I have to agree with you tony. I have not read the book and if it was based on this then I would have to say, “I think I will buy this one.” he says it right on the money. He says in very succinct terms what I have been saying to myself and others for years. so…is there anything else that says I ought to buy this book? 🙂

    • July 14, 2010 at 2:28 pm

      Bill.. if you need any other help with deciding, visit Michael’s blog and read through some of his archives.

      I am looking forward to getting further into the book to see what else he has to say…. by the way, at the beginning of his book he talks about the Dairy Queen Incident which helped shape this book. It is a must read. I read that part at dinner last night to my wife and daughter. My wife was not happy about my proposal to read an excerpt during dinner but after having read a few pages, she wanted me to keep going. I think she will read this book.

  2. July 14, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I think I linked there one time through your site but hadn’t been back until Pete’s blog yesterday. I WILL purchase this book and look over I monk archives immediately. The raw honesty and reality of life is comforting to tackle life like the ragtag disciples and realize it is a moment to moment reliance on the person of Jesus. The answer to life is not a sinner’s prayer but a sinner’s very being constantly in communion with Jesus through thick and thin! Thank you Tony for sharing!

    • July 14, 2010 at 2:30 pm

      Thanks, Tom, for stopping by and commenting. Yes.. it is an honest dialog to say that it isn’t about what we have accomplished (sinner’s prayer) but about what Christ has accomplished, is accomplishing, and will accomplish if we just fold up our pretenses and give it to Him.

  3. randy morgan
    July 14, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    thanks for the snippet, tony. i’m in line for the book as well. is it coincedence that all of us are reading the same stuff (blogs, books, etc) or is it possible that god is actually doing a new thing in the earth?

    i want to be in the middle of what jesus is into.

    • July 14, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      That is a great question, Randy. One in which it may be years later that we will have to look back and see if, in our electronic age, God chose a foolish medium by which to impact people in an unexpected way… maybe much like radio and tv.

      I am amazed at how quickly information can be disseminated. I literally just heard about the book yesterday. When I got home from work it took me all of 2 or 3 minutes to download the book to my Nook and I was reading.

      • randy morgan
        July 14, 2010 at 4:15 pm

        and you’re still trying to sell me a nook!

      • July 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm

        Nah.. just giving you evidence of why buying one has some benefits.. 🙂

  4. July 15, 2010 at 2:32 am

    Double Amen. This quote is right where I am right now. I want that gang of rebels to stand with and fight the pretense. I don’t want to worship in the old way.
    After reading your excerpt and Pete’s I’m gonna have to order this book.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday.
    And thank you for sharing what you found.
    So good.

  5. anewcreation
    July 22, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I too read that post in Pete’s blog and immediately felt drawn to search Michael’s blog. Everything that he has written that I have read so far has stirred something deep in me. I will purchase this book as soon as I can, but even before I read it I know that Michael will be sorely missed by the Christian community and that we are all in much need of the courageous spirit dwelling within him.


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