Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

9 October 2008


Sometimes you read books to learn. Sometimes they are pure pulp. Some are a slice of life that leave you with a feeling. Churched is a little bit of all of them.

Here's how Matthew Paul Turner ends this very personal book...

"Last Sunday Jessica and I went to church. It was Easter. A couple of people got baptized. The guy sitting next to me took two smoke breaks. I closed my eyes during the praise and worship. Pete gave a sermon about hope. We took communion. I wasn't afraid"

Afraid? Why is not being afraid surprising? Afraid of what?
Maybe Moose. After reading about Moose... I'm afraid.

Moose was one of Matthew's childhood Sunday school teachers who carried a drawing of hell in his back pocket. He once pulled out a barbie doll, told the kids that she had lung cancer because she was a smoker, and that she was going to burn in hell. Moose then turned out the lights and lit the doll on fire, screaming "Do you want to go to hell boys and girls?".

I'm afraid of Moose. And smoking. Dang those heathen smokers.

As I read through Matthew's collection of childhood stories about growing up in a strict fundamentalist Baptist church I had to laugh at how smoking was a common thread as one of the great evils of western civilization. Matthew tells a story of going to a family barber to get a "Baptist" haircut and leaving afraid for eternal safety of the barber because of his cigarettes.

Afraid. There's that word again. Maybe the yearly boxing match with Satan didn't help.

I like "Churched" because I grew up in the church too. Not in the same context and not with the same intensity as Matthew details, but many of the elements are there. Getting to know Matthew a bit over the last year and now reading of the roots of his journey tells a very interesting story. In many ways it's my story too. It's entirely possible that it's your story too. And if it wasn't so tragic... it would be even funnier.

One of the questions we ask when we do servant evangelism on the streets is "so what's your church background?". And almost EVERYONE says something. From the transvestites who we caught making out in our church nursery one night to downtown business owners (even if it's "My mama prays for me") most of our culture has SOME contact with the church. And that likely means contact with some well meaning people... trying to serve God honestly... and looking like a basketcase.

On the streets when we get into any discussion that is God-related, one of the first things that people do is apologize for their language or their cigarettes! They assume that they wouldn't "qualify" for our club with a cigarette in hand. This... is OUR fault. That Christians were so "Churched" for so long that something as stupid as rolled up leaves have become a "roadblock" between a soul and the creator of the soul.

Leaves... are thin. Very thin.

I chatted with Matthew briefly this morning about my impressions of the book and I wrote this:

Dave: you know what runs through my mind when I think about what Christianity became for years and years... is that these are well meaning people just doing what they know/ have been taught to do. Makes me a bit sad because I wonder what a generation of people our parents age would have been like... how effective for Christ they could have been in this world if they weren't burdened down with a backpack jammed full of religious nonsense
Matthew: yep... that's it
Dave: well meaning people lighting barbies on fire. Now there's a punk band name
Matthew: haha

Random House Publishing was kind enough to give me an extra copy of the "Churched" to give away... so the first person (who lives in Brantford so I don't have mail it) that asks for it... you can have a free copy of your own. It's a very funny book written by a very funny guy living out one of my favorite saying... "get free, live free, free others".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well I know someone who lives in Brantford. Does that count?

LOL!! J/k.


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