Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: Quit Going to Church by Bob Hostetler

Bob Hostetler's "Quit Going to Church" isn't so much about what's wrong with modern churches as it is about what's wrong with the way modern Christians live their lives. Hostetler starts by explaining that we need to stop attending church in a routine manner and start being the church in our actions and hearts. The rest of his book deals with how exactly we can do that.

Hostetler's chapters focus on:
  • Quitting prayer and making a habit of keeping company with God
  • Quitting reading the Bible and using the Bible to relate to God
  • Ending the sharing of your faith and starting the sharing of your life
  • Spending less time focusing on the ten percent tithe and more time realizing that everything you have belongs to God
  • Discontinuing in heartless volunteer jobs and using your gifts for God's glory
  • Putting a stop to judgment of the poor and instead spending time with the poor
  • Stopping niceties and being real instead
  • Quitting fellowship activities and starting parties
  • Giving up on being good and instead dwelling in God's presence
  • Denying enjoyment of worship and focusing your worship on God's happiness
  • Quitting our worries about doing God's will and instead taking risks
Hostetler provides insights that aren't necessarily mind-blowing, but that are enough to inspire Christians to action. Although I had a few objections to some of his thoughts. Hostetler's comments on the need for worship to focus less on styling that pleases us and more on God are truthful, but his insistence that all worship should be joyful (implication - charismatic) ignores the fact that there are different times appropriate for different kinds of worship, and that some people are more reflective in their worship. And Just because someone does not display outer joy does not mean they do not have inner joy. 

As I read Hostetler's writing, I worried that the book would take on an "everyone needs to be a missionary" attitude. Hostetler makes it clear that we all have different gifts to be used for God's glory in different ways, but in certain chapters his suggestions seem to go against this by implying that every Christian should do dramatic things like spending more time with the homeless. I'm pretty sure that Hostetler did not mean to convey that extreme an idea, but there was enough to intimidate me, whose gifts seem to be more in words than in action. 

So, overall, I found this book surprising and inspiring, but it was not without its quirks.

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

No comments: