Saturday, November 15, 2008

Book Review

As I stated in a previous post before we went on vacation, one of the books that I planned to read on vacation was a book entitled "Quitting Church: Why the Faithful Are Fleeing and What to Do About It."  Although I haven't yet finished the book in its entirety, I thought I'd give a brief review of that I have read.

First of all, Miss Duin gives some very interesting statistics, statistics that highlight that people are very burned-out on this whole "seeker-sensitive" approach to church.  People are fleeing these kinds of churches in droves.  At the same time, the percentage of Americans who say that they never go to church is higher now than it has been at any time in recent history.  Twenty-two percent of Americans today say that they never attend church.

However, while I appreciated the statistical facts and figures that the book presents, I think that Miss Duin misses the mark when it comes to the cure for this problem of people "quitting church."  The solution that she offers seems very much like the solution that George Barna offers in his book "Revolution," which is basically to say "The day of the institutional church has come and gone.  It's time to move on to something else."  Miss Duin (and Mr. Barna for that matter) place a great deal of emphasis on "house churches."  But this is where the book really misses the point.  The fact that people are leaving these seeker-sensitive, program-oriented mega-churches should not cause us to throw up our hands and say, "We need to find an alternative to the church."  Instead, it should cause us to return to what the church is called to be and to do.  It should cause us to emphasize the preaching of the Word and the administration of the sacraments.  It should cause us to emphasize the importance of catechization, in the church and in the home.  It should cause us to emphasize worship that is centered on God (and not on me) and preaching that is centered on Christ (and once again, not on me).

All in all, the book has been an interesting read (so far).  But if you do read this book, make sure to read it with discernment.

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