An allegory of sorts that seems to have some autobiographical content from the authors.
The title alone drew me to this book about fictional character Jake Colson. Jake meets a mysterious man, John, who challenges his views of himself, God's love and acceptance, and his concept of the church body. This book chronicles many encounters as Jake walks through months and even years of coming to terms with his "need" to "earn" God's love, his craving for acceptance, and his disillusionment with the church "machine." He comes out the other side with his priority fully centered on connecting with Jesus and following Him every day and experiencing true fellowship with other believers outside the church walls and organization.
While I disagree with the premise of that can be assumed from the book - all churches are evil, we don't need them, don't go - I think that assumption is also wrong. I believe that John made it clear that true fellowship and focus on living with and following Christ and growing in that relationship *can* be found in a traditional church body. However, it often isn't because we all get so caught up in our programs and activities that we lose sight of Him...and each other. I know tht I have experienced that personally and even know struggle with the lack of authentic connection to other believers in my life...even though I regularly attend and am involved in the ministries at a church.
From the appendix in the back, one of the authors says that no where in the Bible does it say that you have to attend church. Which I guess is valid in and of itself if you view church as a certain way. But Hebrews 10:25 does state: Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
In our culture that most likely means traditional church. But I understand that it doesn't have to. It is just the most likely way to meet people who are hungry and pushing after Jesus to join along with the journey.
A lot of the points in the book DID hit home with me, though, and echo some of my thoughts and feelings. So it has given me a lot of fodder to think and pray on. I will continue to attend church but with God's help my focus will shift more from the tasks and programs and to do lists and the superficial relationships to really delving into what Jesus has for me to do there and for the connections that He can make through the leading of the Spirit so that I can experience authentic fellowship and relationships that help me (and I can help others) along the path. Because, really, isn't that where it's suppose to be at anyway: focus fully on Jesus and doing what He is calling you to. And the church is purely a mechanism to help that process and to help others come to know Him and be on that journey as well.