Jared Herd knows from experience the pain of losing Jesus. In his “southern-fried Baptist church”, surrounded by a few deacons and attendees, Herd was baptized into Christ, but later found his faith in ruins after the divorce of his parents. Not unlike Herd, many today have “found” Jesus, but due to hurt caused by circumstances, disappointments, and even the church, they have left Christianity in search of something more meaningful. Reflecting upon his own experiences as a pastor to students and as one who stepped away from religion, Herd offers readers a list of ways the church is misunderstood by the larger culture and how these misunderstandings can be cleared through true examination.
Though Herd has displayed a meaningful argument for the relevance of Christianity in a culture very different from that of the current generation’s parents and grandparents, his text takes a while to lift off of the ground. Too often, I felt as if the book was a strand of things wrong with the Christian church, along the lines of “there are too many rules” and “it sometimes seems irrelevant.” As a whole, Christianity is not a religion of relevance: it calls for loving enemies and putting ourselves last. Herd’s overemphasis on the “relevance” of Christianity sometimes left me wanting more explanation for his position.
However, I did appreciate Herd’s emphasis on the importance of the body to Christianity and his nod to ancient Christianity. Herd encourages his readers to not see the body as something that Christians dwell in, but something that Christians are. After all, Jesus had a physical body and God has used the weakest of individual bodies to showcase his glory throughout scripture. Additionally, Herd emphasizes that Christianity has a “long line of thinkers,” thinkers that were also frustrated with living out an uncommon faith in a very common world. With this ancient knowledge in mind, Herd suggests that believers work to “renovate,” rather than demolish faith in order to stay connected with “something old,” such as the Christian worldview.
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