As the Internet Monk, Michael Spencer encouraged thousands through his blog, before he died of cancer last April. His one and only book, Mere Churchianity, is a fitting legacy.
Like his blog, Mere Churchianity is provocative and appeals to those disillusioned by the institutional church. It serves to start a conversation about what following Jesus looks like, and the ways the church is leading us astray and thwarting us in our attempts to live like Christ.
I found the book encouraging on the whole. Consistently, readers are called to go back to the gospels, and examine what Jesus said and did. Find the real Jesus, not the one other people project, and be changed by him. Spencer calls evangelical churches out for the ways they ignore Jesus and peddle a false gospel, particularly those who promote a prosperity gospel or one that requires everyone to be happy all the time.
Though it is addressed to “leavers” and is very sympathetic to their concerns, I think it makes a good case for living in community and being a part of a church. This book will be a great encouragement to those who are struggling with the church, but its short on next steps. I would have liked to see Jesus-Shaped Spirituality a little more fleshed out. But overall, it’s a worthwhile read. [I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.]