Life is busy. We live like slaves to our fast-paced, suffocating schedules. There’s so much more that God wants to give, tell and show us, but we simply don’t ask. We spend our energy and time in triviality, splashing in the shallow end of our souls. – Pg. 19
Aren’t we searching for something more in our lives? We seek it in new television shows or newer video games. We bury our noses in other realities hoping to find that fulfillment. We put the responsibility on churches to fill us and, “live like slaves to our fast-paced, suffocating schedules. We spend our energy and time in triviality, relegating God to the background. (back cover).”
“He seems distant to us, and we resist the idea that God wants to give, say, and show us more; we dismiss it as rumor. But Jesus calls us to a better way. Another dream—an unimagined future. Close the gap between what you hear about and what you see.” – back flap
In my short years as a blogger, I have read many church-bashing blogs. Some blogs have merely caused me to feel compassion for the obvious and real hurt that the writer still feels, and others have simply made me angry. What we don’t realize is how much we’re nailing Jesus in the foot by our unintentional efforts to sabotage our church family. We are more apt to preach the bad that happens in church than to preach the good. In the introduction of this book, Darren and Jon talk about what they believe about church:
“We wrote this book because we love the church. Many have the sense that the greatest days of the church are in the past. We humbly disagree. This book is our small rebellion against that notion. We believe that if you listen to the rumors of God, you will hear that God is doing something new in the church. We long to confirm those rumors with our lives.” – Pg. Xvi
Right away I am wooed by his words. How I long to hear those rumors and see God do some amazing things in our churches. Our culture has done a good job in raising a new generation to live with a focus on “me,” and what’s most amazing is how much this generation yearns for truth in the crystal-clear sense; not the muddied water they’d been drinking for so many years. Slowly, the authors rip through our defenses layer-by-layer. “Or the better question may be, why aren’t more of us receiving, finding and opening? (pg. 19),” the author says pointing the finger back at us.
The book is not your typical, build-your-self-esteem book filled with useless advice and words that fail to fulfill the promise written on the back flap. I could relate to it, and I know many in my Praise and Coffee group could relate to it. I know my readers can relate to it. It’s more than a book, but pages of deep thought peeling away our bitterness and shallow reasoning of what we think about church. God, I agree, IS doing something new with church in America. In one paragraph, the author shows HOW God is working in church:
As I walked to the front of the sanctuary, I bumped into a woman who had recently come to Christ. A former atheist, she wanted to tell me about what she was discovering about her new identity as a child of God. I was high-fived by one of the students in our youth group, a kid from the projects who had recently become a Christian, while a Wall Street broker prayed with a friend who was in crisis…As I looked around the room I was overwhelmed. I could not think of another room in the whole city where the recently homeless, famous, lost, newly found, rich, poor, and everything in between could raise their voices and sing as one.” – Pg. 118
Overall, this book is a great read for those (as Alan Hirsch is quoted as saying), “…who are jaded by the church, or have become cynical about the power of the Gospel in our time, Rumors of God is a great antidote.” As a leader of a para-church ministry, I see this book’s great usefulness in softening the bruises of those hurt by church and disillusioned by mans’ idea of God. How can we bring others to the family of Christ if as a family we can’t get along and reflect the kind of love Scripture speaks about? How can we show Christ if we can’t forgive our church family for hurting us?
Who will take that first step if not us?