That’s what he says.
I need to quit “going to church” and start following Jesus.
I need to quit “going to church” and seek the kingdom of God.
I need to quit going to church and devote myself to the Word of God, to living in community with God’s people, to worshipping him wholeheartedly, to drawing close to him in prayer, and to going public, reaching out and sharing it all with the world around me.
And while you’re quitting, here are a few more habits he suggests you drop.
- Quit saying your prayers...and start keeping company with God.
- Quit fellowshipping...and learn how to really party instead.
- Quit trying to be good...and instead focus on dwelling daily in Jesus’ presence.
There’s more. Quit tithing. Quit volunteering. Quit helping the poor. I couldn’t always see where Hostetler was going at first, but he always made it clear in the end.
Quit reading your Bible
Surely not. But what if instead of reading, you listened for God’s voice in every line, every word? Let the Bible be an instrument for relationship.
Moses said, “Teach me your ways.”
Why? So I can be entertained? So I can escape from my problems? So I can get information? Instruction? Inspiration?
No. He said, “Teach me your ways so I may know you.”
Quit sharing your faith
Share your life instead.
Jesus wants us to be like him. He wants us to risk our reputations. He wants us to earn criticism from religious folk. He wants us to eat and drink with tax collectors and “sinners.”
He wants us to get out of our tidy Christian ghetto and hang out with people who are far from God...not to judge them, not to demand some Christian standard of behavior from them, not to look down our noses at them, but to actually and really be their friends, accepting them, relating to them, expressing genuine interest in what they think and what they enjoy, and not trying to squeeze them into our mold, but sharing our lives with them.
Quit being nice
I believe Jesus calls us to conform to his image, not to our pseudo-Christian portraits of him.
He does not call us to be nice.
He calls us to be real.
It started when Adam and Eve sinned, and tried to hide this major relationship problem with God. Because they were scared.
And we’ve been hiding ever since. That is the main reason we are so “nice.” We are afraid. Of all kinds of things. ...We fear exposure. ...We fear rejection. ...We fear being overlooked.
Instead, we can learn to be honest about who we are, and learn to love from that center, as Jesus did.
So don’t let the title Quit Going to Church mislead you. Yes, Hostetler has a lot to say about quitting in this book, but he has more to say about living and loving like Jesus.
And if that means quitting the status quo, then quit.
And start something better instead.
* * *
Is there something you need to quit doing and start something else?
My thanks to ACU Press & Leafwood Publishers
for the review copy of this book