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Monday, September 04, 2006

"Dear Church"


If you have been following some of my blogging thoughts, you know I am intrigued and disturbed by the disinclination towards official membership by the twenty-somethings who are regularly part of the church I serve. I wrote something about spiritual ronins that generated a good bit of dialogue. The more I pushed, and the more I listened, to voices like Doug Pagitt, George Barna, stupidchurchpeople.com and Scot McKnight, I heard those deep honest tones of disappointment with the structure of the local church and the dead bureacracy of most denominations. I did not like what I heard, being a long-time loyalist and multi-generational christian, and professional christian. But the more I listened, the more I had to admit they were right.
Then along came "Dear Church" by Sarah Cunningham. It was recommended on one of the too many blog-sites I visit regularly. I bought it and could not put it down. She writes with a painfully searing honesty. There are tears on her pages. The words she says in the first 7 seven letters are not words that are easy to read and take in. I fought with reactive defensiveness at first, but then realized that her observations are really a gift to the bigger church that wants to listen.
Her letter writing format reminds me of CS Lewis' "Screwtape Letters". Her mixture of humor and pain often caught me off-guard. Her 9th letter was the one that moved me to write this review: it's a confession and apology to the church in a way that told me Sarah Cunningham gets it.
My entire staff will be getting this book as assigned reading. You should too.

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