Thursday, June 03, 2010

If the Church Were Christian: discovering the values of Jesus by Philip Gulley

Harper Collins, 2010

If the Church Were Christian:

1 Jesus would be a model for living rather than an object for worship

2 Affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness

3 Reconciliation would be valued over judgment

4 Gracious behavior would be more important than right belief

5 Inviting questions would be valued more than supplying answers

6 Encouraging personal exploration would be more important than communal uniformity

7 Meeting needs would be more important than maintaining institutions

8 Peace would be more important than power

9 It would care more about love and less about sex

10 This life would be more important than the afterlife

These are the chapter titles in this provocative book by Quaker pastor, Philip Gulley.

I have read several of Gulley’s fiction novels about life in the small town of Harmony, Indiana and enjoyed them immensely. Throughout those novels I found several of these questions – not stated so blatantly, but woven into the fabric of the stories themselves.

Although I am glad to have read this non-fiction title by Gulley, my preference still lies in seeking the answers to life’s questions through story. Like medicine, life lessons always go down easier when they are coated with a bit of sugar.

Do I agree with Gulley’s premise? … Wholeheartedly! If only those of us who claim to be Christians would actually live with Jesus as our role model on a daily basis!

I wish Gulley would come to visit my home church – he would find a community of faith that works pretty hard to live up to the model of church that is described by those ten questions.

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