I read quite a lot of Christian/Biblical literature and many are extremely repetitious and unfortunately quite boring. I understand that publishers demand x amount of pages, which is ridiculous, but still – tell more personable stories, things that engage readers. This book is engaging from the start as initially the author is so candid about his life in the church growing up. Mr. Strobel was raised in the church and he is very honest about how that affected his walk – good and bad. His church experience for many years was in an emergent seeker sensitive environment with no tradition but a bucket load of programmes for everyone. He didn’t really understand what his salvation was for and had to learn to walk with Jesus not just wait for heaven. I believe a lot of us feel the dichotomy of this and we want to help as many people as possible and yet how much of the spiritual disciplines are we teaching and modeling?
We all have a worldview, how we see things in the world and around us, but do we have a Christian worldview? Basically we sift information through a visual, intellectual and emotional sieve and perceive what we see. Kyle saw his worldview as something that needed to change which if we are sincere we probably need to tweak relatively often as well. This on the other hand does not mean enclosing yourself in a Christian bubble. I do think you need to know your heart and what can lead you astray but to just blankly say that, for instance, you never watch R rated movies can be quite closed minded. I picked on movies but you understand what I mean – this could relate to anything including schooling your kids and what brand of clothing your wear. We need to read the Bible and allow it to change our worldview not let the world do that for us.
Kyle talks about actually getting closer to God not just working harder or volunteering more hours (even though I am pretty sure your local church would not say no to more help). Who do you get together with on a regular basis? Are you learning from one another? We are created to live in community so are we actually doing that? I do believe that it is hard to live in a first world country and think about being holy as opposed to successful. That is definitely not the American way! Jesus came to call us to be disciples and to walk with him not to forge our own paths.
Is it an asset to have the surname Strobel in today’s non-fiction Christian literature world? Well I would say yes and no after reading this book. Kyle has sat under some great teaching but has also seen some very negative sides of the emergent church. Many have walked away from the Scriptures but he persevered. He says in the beginning that he loves the church and knew that he had to change, not the other way around. I agree wholeheartedly. Get in the word but read books like this on the side. Be in the world but not of the world – a tall order? Yes but definitely worth it!