Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Auntie's Full Shelf Challenge 14

BookI am a Church Member.

Author: Thom Rainer

Info: Copyright 2013: Nashville TN:  B&H Publishing Group.

Where acquired: Thrift store purchase.

Why:  My Pastor not only recommended this book, but he and the leadership taught a sermon series on it.  However, at the time I couldn't see spending $13.00 on a book that was less than 100 pages, so it's a good thing I found it at the thrift store.

Rating (on a scale of 1-4 hashtags): # # #

What it's about:  

Reiner takes on the culture of entitlement that has pervaded the church.  His book is a strong rebuke to members who see the church as a country club that serves them, rather than a community of God's servants.  He cites examples and issues pledges to combat the ridiculous petty nature of immature church behavior.

Favorite Quotes

"We who are church members are supposed to function in the church.  The concept of an inactive  church member is an oxymoron.  Biblically, no such church member exists." - p. 16

"That's right, membership in the body of Christ, the church, is a gift from God.  It's not a legalistic obligation.  It's not country club perks.  It's not a license for entitlements.  It's a gift.  A gift from God.  A gift that we should treasure with great joy and anticipation." - p. 71

What I Liked:
  • Reiner doesn't sugarcoat anything.  He states the issues, shows the ridiculousness of them, and offers a scriptural solution.
  • The chapters on praying for my Pastor and leaders was eye opening.
  • I like the addition of study questions at the end of each chapter.
What I didn’t like: 
  • The book was too short and one-sided.  The author should have addressed the other side of the issue.  No, we Christians shouldn't act like a bunch of spoiled brats with our shorts in a bunch, and we should walk in forgiveness.  However, the behavior of church leadership should have been addressed also.  Rainer makes no mention of and has no grace for those who have been harmed by leaders displaying the very behavior he condemns.  I understand that he writes from the perspective of a former Pastor, but surely he understands the pain that members go through.  This book needs a sequel, I Am a Church Leader, that gives some of the same "take this pledge and get over it" advice.
  • Are seven pages of accolades for the book (plus the back cover) really necessary?  If the book is that good, let the diverse readers find out and say so, rather than a whole whack of people who agree with you.
To sum up:  I read this book from the perspective of both a church member and a leader, so I understand both sides of the issue.  The author's premise is sound, however, insisting that a church member blindly follows without a whimper is dangerous, and unscriptural.  I Corinthians 11:1 says, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ." 

Though a good book, it was out of balance.  I would recommend this book to those who can tolerate a hard message which, truthfully, we all need.  But, I caution those whose feelings are still raw from harm done to them in the church; this book will make you angry.  My suggestion is to read it, do your part by walking in love and forgiveness, and pray for those who've harmed or offended you. 

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