Jim & Casper Go To Church
OK, I read this book about a week or two ago and found it to be a real easy read. I read it on the plane to/from Atlanta for the Youth Specialties Conference. The basic theme of the book is that a believer (Jim Henderson) decided he wanted to hire an atheist (Matt Casper) to go to different churches around the country to get his raw untainted opinions of the experience. The insight that is given in the book is very helpful, but I think you need to remember the context as well. The parts that talked about the lights and pounding music and the "show" made me reflect on why we do what we do. In fact, I had to guard myself from sitting in our worship service and just being critical about everything, and remember I was there for worship. It is interesting that for Matt, the upbeat band lead worship was not that inviting or impressive. And when he talked about what was said before the offering was being taken, actually made me change the way I word what I say when I am in charge of the prayer before the plates are passed. I also agree with his assessment that churches need to be more involved in reaching out to their communities. But, I also think that some of the criticisms that were mentioned, while I respect his opinion and truly feel like from his point of view were probably spot on, I think as a Christian it's totally different. For an atheist to go into a church and experience worship for the style and words is much different than the way I feel a Christian would experience it. I just want to make sure that we remember that church is a place for Christians to worship as well as an outreach to non-believers. So some of the worship music that Matt didn't like might be an amazing experience for someone who is worshiping the God they believe in. The holy spirit, who Matt is not indwelt with, might use some of that music that he did not like to truly minister to those who are indwelt. All in all, I think the book was good and a good read for anyone in church ministry.
SCORE: 4 cups of starbucks (out of possible 5)