For a while now, I’ve been kicking around the idea of writing a book on Christianity. All this recent fuss over The Da Vinci Code just convinces me of two things: today’s Amercian Christian churches serious need a well-placed slap upside the head and there’s a lot of free publicity just waiting for the enterprising writer.
Without further ado, here’s an excerpt from the introduction of my proposed book Following Christ Without Being a Christian:
I’m completely convinced that many potential readers of this book will end up thinking I’m one of the biggest heretics to ever walk the planet. If Judgement Day goes down the way a lot of people think it will, I’ll end up in the first wave of people who get burned at the stake. I console myself with the knowledge that at least my stake will be fresh.
In all fairness, this book is not for a lot of people. I hate when authors waste my time and suck me into a book, so I’ll try to avoid doing the same thing for you. I’ve provided a handy list of warning signs so you can decide if you want to keep reading or just want to go lay in stocks of lighter fluid right now:
- If you ever have stated, or can state “If the King James Version was good enough for Our Lord Jesus, then it’s good enough for me” in all seriousness, here’s your Zippo.
- If you believe in a literal seven-day Creation — complete with God building in all sorts of tricky false fossils just to confuse Darwin and his heathen followers — here’s your Zippo.
- If you believe that every single word of the Bible was divinely authored and made it rhough multiple centuries with every jot and tittle of meaning fresh and tasty, without any need for historical context and analysis — and you think that the human politics surrounding the transmisison of Scripture has had no effect — here’s your Zippo.
- If you think that your ultimate ideal as a Christian is to turn America into a Christian Nation, here’s your Zippo.
In short, if you practice a religion that calls itself Christianity while remaining dissociated from Christ’s core teaching, that relies more heavily on the contents of Christian bookstores and Christian radio programming than it does on the (often contradictory) words and letters and throughts of its leaders, then this book is probably not for you. It’s definitely not for you if you like things this way. If, however, you feel something is missing and you’re not sure what…you admire the teachings of the Bible but can’t bear to be associated with the Church…keep reading.
I don’t offer any certainties. I have been wrong in the past, I’m probably wrong about a lot of stuff now, and I’m sure I’ll be wrong in the future. However, I’ve come to a pretty good rule of thumb; the more certain I am of a belief, the more I need to re-examine that belief. Many times, my re-examination gives me new insights and observations that are valuable. In some cases I find that I’ve allowed myself to accrete a lot of baggage around that belief that doesn’t belong. Sacred cows make great hamburgers.