This book explores if the real church actually exists, and what constitutes a real church. Crabb, in his wit and frankness, explores the state of the American church. He moves to 3 misconceptions of what a church exists for, namely for a better life, to save ourselves and others, and to change the world. He ends by unpacking his own concept of a real church, focusing on 4 areas, namely spiritual theology, formation, community and mission.Not being familiar with Crabb's earlier works e.g. Inside Out, I initially found his style and comments rather suspicious and a little too tongue-in-cheek, though I understand he was being extreme and in-your-face for emphasis, and also speaking his mind, but slowly then drawing the audience to think outside the box, for themselves, and also get drawn into his reasoning and unpacking which comes subsequently. The content and material he puts forth is not new, but still refreshing, especially his take of what many Christians view as church, or what church should be for. I find him leaning towards emergent church theology, though he mentions clearly at least twice his misgivings and concerns about the movement. He also uses terms and phrases that don't necessary sit well with evangelical theology, e.g. dancing with the Trinity, addiction to God, hearing heaven's music, etc. Also, I find that the book is a little imbalanced, because he spends so much time reflecting on the state of the church, and misconceptions of the purposes of a church, it seems he rushes through the 4 areas, and before it can reach a climax, ends rather abruptly, concluding that theology is the thing that draws the other 3 together, without really explaining too much why and how. Instead, he leaves us thirsty for more, which creates a great plug-in for his other book 66 Love Letters, which he then promotes. On purpose, or just in line with his conclusion? I leave it to you to decide.
Great; in an ongoing series of books I have been reading on the same topic. Each one, while slightly different, has the common thread of the desperate need for churches to get back to real, honest relationships within the body. Relationships that may or may not lead to programs; not the other way around. Of course that starts first with a real, honest relationship with Christ.
When I first received this book, I was very excited to read it as I was going through a period in my life of struggling with my experiences in the church. However, I found this book extremely difficult to get through (it took me months of picking it up and putting it down) and the author tended to contradict his own points throughout the book. While I do agree with some of his arguments about what is wrong with churches today, I think the biggest problem Mr. Crabb is facing is his lifestyle. He says that due to his travel schedule he is unable to attend any one church on a regular basis. What he is missing is the sense of community and belonging that you get from attending the same church regularly. In his line of work, I'm not sure he's ever going to find what he's looking for.
Having been involved in church planting, I was compelled to read this book on this important topic. What makes people--sincere, true Christians--disillusioned about their churches? Why do Christians quit attending church? Why do so many of those who still attend dislike going? What, exactly, is wrong with our churches today? Do real churches exist and how can I find them?In an early chapter, Dr. Crabb mentions his morning coffee shop addiction, mentioning that he wants to be drawn to church "as compellingly as the promise of an extra hot latte." Reading this book is like sitting down to a big latte in your favorite coffee shop with a really good friend and having a heart-to-heart completely honest, sometimes reflective, sometimes meditative, often provocative chat about your Christian walk and your own church. Some of Dr. Crabb's thoughts will likely resonate with you as they did with me; others not so much.Although this book, like your friend, likely will have a few spiritual insights and truths to share with you and you will walk away comforted that you are not alone and perhaps encouraged in your own Christian walk, this book has neither researched the issues it purports to deal with in a scholarly, academic way nor presents much of an agenda for forging ahead to build--or find--a "real church."Recommended with reservations. This book will not show you how to build a great church. Perhaps that is, after all, something only the Lord can do. This book might serve as a starting point for thinking through these issues confronting our church today.