Quit Going to Church
thought provoking look at how we live our faith
We understand that we don't practice our faith the same way as Jesus or Paul. We have adapted the way we Ã¢ÂÂdo churchÃ¢ÂÂ because we live in a different day and age.
Ã¢ÂÂBut,Ã¢ÂÂ Hostetler asks, Ã¢ÂÂwhat if we've done more than that? What if the form of Christianity commonly practiced by us and by most of the Christians around us bears little Ã¢ÂÂ if any Ã¢ÂÂ resemblance to the way of Jesus and the kingdom he came to earth to usher in? What if we've missed the boat...? What if we've misunderstood Ã¢ÂÂ even misrepresented Ã¢ÂÂ what it means to truly follow Jesus?Ã¢ÂÂ (12-13)
This book is about identifying and correcting the ways we have departed from the way of Jesus.
Hostetler urges us to quit going to church. (16) After looking at the early church in Acts, he writes, Ã¢ÂÂIf my relationship with God consists of 'going to church,' I need to quit that. I need to 'quit going to church' and start following Jesus.Ã¢ÂÂ (22) He continues, Ã¢ÂÂSo I urge you: quit going to church Ã¢ÂÂ and start being the church.Ã¢ÂÂ (22)
He continues: quit saying your prayers. (Jesus wants us to keep company with him.) Quit reading your Bible (the way you read a book). (The Bible is for relationship with God.) Quit sharing your faith. (Share your life of living faith.) Quit tithing. (He owns one hundred percent.) Quit volunteering. (Devote yourself to your spiritual gift.) Quit being nice. (Be authentic and bold in following Jesus.) Quit helping the poor. (Unite with them instead.) Quit fellowshipping. (Party instead.) Quit trying to be good. (Turn your eyes on Jesus.) Quit enjoying worship. (True worship isn't about you or what you enjoy.) Quit living in the center of God's will. (Relax. Give thanks for everything, that's God's will for you, 1 Thess. 5:24.)
Hostetler has done a great job of comparing how we Christians live today to what Jesus has asked of us. He tackles head on many of the accepted ways we do Christianity and jars us with the picture of what biblical Christianity should be. It is a very though provoking book.
If you want to take a serious look at how you are living your Christian faith and compare it to what the Bible mandates, you must read this book.
Unfortunately, there are no discussion questions in the book. It would make a very good choice for a small group to read and contemplate.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
April 14, 2012
As I finished reading it (on landing in Houston) the two flight attendants at the front of the plane asked me what I was reading.
I told them and passed it up for them to look at (seat belt sign was still on). They both looked at it and asked about it.
As I was leaving I asked the one saying "thank you, thank you, come again, thank you" if he was interested in the book. He said "yes" I expect both of them will read it. I thought given what Bob says about evangelism I could do no less.
Bob writes about 12 aspects of what most people encounter as a church experience (including the concept of church itself) and how it jibes with what the Bible says. it is inspiring
I must tell you, it was an amazing read. I didn't say it out loud. I was blessed, I was challenged, I was encouraged, I was changed. Great read, easy read but challenging spiritually. I found myself on many occasions being taken aback by how Bob caught cogent points missed in all my studies. The point about the ark and following God's word, the discussion on David as the unrestrained lover of God led me to realize how much David and Peter were alike and how God values love over anything else. The insight on the partying of the disciples after Pentecost, on the way Jesus must have known the widow with the two coins, on the role of meals in the eastern culture all opened the Bible to me in a new way. The story about Fifi, Mers, and five-way chili all gave me a better perspective.
Even the extra insights on Gomer and Hosea in the "read the first chapter of my next book" addendum were inspiring.
I've only paid to see one movie twice, and this will be the first book I purchase twice from the same enthusiasm. It's that good.
March 13, 2012
Shocking title with hopeful content
The shocking title of Bob HostetlerÃ¢ÂÂs new book sure got my attention. The first chapter bears the same name, followed by similarly scandalous chapters: Quit Saying Your Prayers, Quit Reading Your Bible, Quit Sharing your Faith, Quit Tithing, Quit Volunteering, Quit Being Nice, Quit Helping the Poor, Quit Fellowshipping, Quit Trying to Be Good, Quit Enjoying Worship, and Quit Living in the Center of GodÃ¢ÂÂs Will.
I found some of these chapters encouraging, some comforting, some challenging, and others troubling (particularly Quit Enjoying Worship).Hostetler confronts my assumptions about what it means to practice Christianity in 21st century America; he maintains weÃ¢ÂÂve slipped into Ã¢ÂÂchurchianityÃ¢ÂÂ instead. He asks and answers, Ã¢ÂÂWhat if weÃ¢ÂÂve misunderstoodÃ¢ÂÂeven misrepresentedÃ¢ÂÂwhat it means to truly follow Jesus?Ã¢ÂÂ
The authorÃ¢ÂÂs personal stories with a humorous and sometimes poignant tone lead to serious biblical insight. I appreciate that he points out details I have missed in biblical narratives and other passages and their significance. I also appreciate that he includes the text of the scriptures being examined. The subheadings are helpful, too. (Ever try to read the original Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin?) Hostetler thoroughly explains any term he introducesÃ¢ÂÂsuch as spiritual gifts in chapter 6Ã¢ÂÂbut not in a condescending way.
This book is much more than a treatise on whatÃ¢ÂÂs wrong with the church, because Hostetler offers alternatives to the things we should quit. For example, Quit Going to Church and start BEING the church. Quit Sharing Your Faith and start sharing YOURSELF with those outside the Christian Ã¢ÂÂbubble.Ã¢ÂÂ Quit Being Nice and start being REAL. Quit Tithing and start recognizing GODÃ¢ÂÂS OWNERSHIP of all you own.
I love this statement in Quit Tithing: Ã¢ÂÂThe way of the tithe is the way of scarcity; that is, thereÃ¢ÂÂs only so much to go around, so I give God what I owe him and make the rest stretch as far as I can. But the way of Jesus is the way of abundance, believing that whatever riches God sends my way are given to me so that I can be generous.Ã¢ÂÂ
But this statement in Quit Helping the Poor made me squirm: Ã¢ÂÂWhen JesusÃ¢ÂÂand the BibleÃ¢ÂÂtalk about helping the poor, it is with the assumption that the poor are Ã¢ÂÂamongÃ¢ÂÂ us, that we have not so completely separated ourselves from the human suffering and messiness of poverty that we donÃ¢ÂÂt know peopleÃ¢ÂÂs namesÃ¢ÂÂ¦or their true needs.Ã¢ÂÂ
The author cites ancient church creeds, authors familiar to me (Philip Yancey, Eugene Peterson, Charles Swindoll, C.S. Lewis), authors unfamiliar to me (Brennan Manning, Mike Erre, Paul Coughlin), and he also references secular films and television shows, childrenÃ¢ÂÂs stories, and sports figures. Each chapter ends with a thoughtful and thought-provoking prayer.
There are self-examination questions at the end of Quit Tithing. I would like discussion questions for every chapter, because I would like to study this book with my church. Perhaps the author could provide questions on his website.
I recommend HostetlerÃ¢ÂÂs book to Christians who struggle with how to live out their faith individually and as part of a church. Read it with a highlighter in hand because you will find a lot you want to remember and revisit.
March 13, 2012
Time to Unpack your Faith
Bob Hostetler has startled us all with his latest title 'Quit Going to Church' don't be thrown off by the title though, this book will take your beliefs to a new level. Those nicely packaged ideas and beliefs of what you should and should not do will be turned on its side and emptied out through each chapter. Just like the title, each chapter will give you a shock and sometimes make you apprehensive to continue reading, do not let that be a reason to stop you. With chapters titled Quit Going to Church, Quit Volunteering, Quit being Nice, and Quit Enjoying the Worship you will be challenged in each chapter realizing that we have allowed culture to define Christianity and fallen into a habit of how we believe we are supposed to act.
Hostetler tackles each chapter head on, you will laugh at his wit and humor that is thrown in the most unlikely places, be convicted realizing you've let yourself turn your faith into a habit, and grow in your faith because of this book. Hostetler uses scripture to support each statement and turns to the Bible to answer questions. Hostetler approaches each chapter sharing his own stories and experiences and shares ways to help us refocus and turn our eyes onto the Jesus of the Bible, not the Jesus we have squished into a box to fit into what we want Him to be. This is a very informative read that you will find relatable without feeling condemned. I highly recommend 'Quit Going to Church'
This book was provided to me complimentary from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
March 13, 2012