I love reading and am havng a great time reviewing books for various publishers. Since my husband is a pastor and we've been involved in and committed to the church for the duration of our marriage (four different churches in 20 years) and I've got 17 additional years of church life under my belt before that, I figured I'd be able to relate at some level to this one. Plus we know a few people who have really been stung by a church or two.While I do bear some nice church scars. Too many have experienced harsh treatment at the hands of the faithful. Perhaps the beauty of reading this book is realizing my wounds were/are rather superficial.
Healing Your Church Hurt: What to do when you still love God but have been wounded by his people, by Stephen Mansfield (Tyndale House Publishers) is meant to be a guide for readers navigating through those hurts. The book is about "eccelsia exitus disease -- the Latin term for church drop out." Spiritual injury is often the cause. Stephen works throughout the book to guide the reader through a recovery. He calls himself a coach versus counselor and he has some tough love to dish out.
This is not a church bashing book; nor is it a memoir of all the ways the church has hurt him; nor a "go-it-alone" Christian manifesto. You will not find soothing words to cajol or cottle you, to indulge your wound. This is training camp to get over it, positively.
As George Barna states in the foreward,
"The paradox inherent in all of this is that inconsistencies and harshness of our society often drive us toward the most tangible and widely promoted expression of Christianity -- the local church, an assumed oasis of perfection and goodness, a place where sinners are transformed into reasonable facsimiles of Christ Himself. But that expectation is often shattered. After all, the local body of believers is still a collecton of sinners seeking a place where they can discover wisdom, truth, grace, healing, and love. No local church will ever be perfect as long as people are part of it."
If church wounding has been an issue, there is a positive word for you here. I appreciated that he concludes the book with smart questions (something he does throughout the book) to consider before entering into a church community. Having boundaries and motives and expectations properly aligned doesn't ensure a good relationship, but they go a long way to preventing a bad one.
Tyndale House has graciously provided me with a gift voucher for the book. So if this is a book you'd like to read, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org; I'll randomly select a winner. Here is a link to download a PDF of the first chapter of the book and more information from the publisher http://tyndale.com/Healing-Your-Church-Hurt/9781414365602.
This book was provided to me free by Tyndale House Publishers without any
obligation for a positive review. All opinions are mine unless otherwise stated.