Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review: Real Church by Larry Crabb

I have been struggling to read Real Church by Larry Crabb over the past week. I didn't really like this book. It was long, drawn out, pretty boring, and depressing.

Depressing in that I felt that I completely understood the author and what he was trying to say, and that I felt pity for him as he was missing his own point.

Larry Crabb is a very educated teacher/writer. And he is struggling, as many do, with the reality of becoming disinterested and disenchanted with church. I feel for him, I know the struggle, I've shared the struggle.

But his is more complicated.

He is so trapped in his 50+ years of conservative/evangelical Christianity with all of its terms/theologies/trappings that he is completely missing his own point.

He passionately writes about his struggles and desires with finding a church that he feels really 'gets it.' And then finds ways to discredit every church environment he has come across in his lifetime.

Unfortunately, I believe one of those is exactly what he is looking for.

He deals a lot with the emergent/missional church and quite readily admits that he does not fully understand it, and is at the same time afraid of it. He admits he has selfish motives about it, but they exist nonetheless. He is so focused on the views of his own church experiences as a conservative/evangelical that a part of him can not look at the missional church as anything but a new form of "social gospel."

This understanding is fundamentally flawed.

Larry Crabb talks at great length about the problems that he sees in the missional church not in what he actually experiences/witnessees/hears, but what he fears COULD happen or what he fears COULD be the motives of those involved in the movement.

The full title is Real Church: Does it Exist? Can I find it?

Yes it does exist. Yes he can find it. He did. And he immediately wrote it off. Many are trapped by a conservative/evangelical viewpoint that fears anything resembling a 'social gospel.' He is most certainly NOT alone in his views. He speaks for a great many who are stuck in a church they don't want to be in and don't feel they can leave because they are so paralyzed by fear of more liberal churches/movements that seem to be brimming with life in them...but because of what they 'know' there MUST be something wrong with it!

And that is depressing.