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REVIEW: “So You Don’t Want to Go To Church Anymore” by Wayne Jacobsen

June 25, 2011

I had started this book, last year sometime, but set it aside because I just couldn’t get into it.

Then, yesterday, I was talking to my mom on the phone, and she said that she was reading a copy of this book, and so I told her I owned it. She raved about how great it was, and I told her I’d set it aside because I couldn’t get into it. She said she had the same problem — until page 34, and then it got better. So, I went and dug out my copy to see where I’d left off. And, I laughed out loud — I’d stopped at page 33! :P

So, thanks to mom’s prompting, I picked the book back up and continued reading. And, I finished the rest of the book that day (yesterday)! It was definitely better after page 34, and I had a hard time putting it down!

The book is written in journal / story format, and has Jake meeting a man named John, who –at first– he thinks might be the same John that walked with Jesus. Jake and John meet up, randomly, over the course of the next four years, and each time, John gives Jake insights into what’s wrong with institutional Christianity in this day & age, and what Christianity is supposed to look like — a relationship, not a religion.

Of course, Jake changes over the course of these talks. He sees the “church” in a new light, and goes on to help others do the same.

I loved that this book almost gives you “permission” not to attend Sunday services any more. I’ve had issues with institutional Christianity for a long, long time, and I truly believe a lot of that stems from what is talked about in this book. Some may get up in arms at me for saying this, or may completely refuse to read this book now that I’ve said that’s what this is about. But, I encourage you to keep an open mind, and read it anyway — THEN decide whether it’s right or wrong. For me, right now (and for the last couple of years), going to church isn’t a right fit for me. I go to my weekly ladies’ Bible study group, and that is my “church” — I’m still fulfilling the Bible’s command to “meet with other believers” (Hebrews 10:24,25). But, I don’t condemn those who still attend services at a church building. If they get something out of it, that’s wonderful! And, I’m glad. But, it’s just not for me. At least, not right now.

Great book — sorry for the rant! LOL. Definitely recommended (the book, that is!). LOL

Rated: B+

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From → 2011, reviews

7 Comments
  1. Jessica's Musings permalink

    This sounds like an ineresting read. I personally do not attend church regularly. I do watch several pastors on tv and online, so I get the Word every week, just as if I were going to church. And I do my own reading and studying. I don’t have a problem with organized religion, as long as it lines up with what the Bible says, but I’m not an outgoing person so I sometimes feel uncomfortable. I’ll have to add this one to my TBR list. I’m very curious. And I’ll make the note to push through to page 34. :)

  2. I think I might pick this one up. I, too, have my own problem with institutionalized religion. The hypocrisy that I see in so many so-called “Christians” who go to church every week really turns me off; I’ve even told a couple of people, “If I’m going to hell for not going to church, I’ll see you there, since your job is to work on yourself, not judge others.” So, yeah … I’m not a good churchgoer, but I AM Christian and totally in love with God!

  3. Mom permalink

    Hah! I was so surprised to find this review on the first web page menu of sites to look up! I can’t believe I’m actually the one being discussed in the review !!!! Because I’m the mom! Whadaya know! :) Just for the record~ I LOVE going to ‘church’! I don’t love going to a building where I am being shunned by one side of an issue! When that happens (as it has) it stops being a family of believers in Jesus, who are mandated to show His love to others, and becomes a religious institution that has lost it’s way, as so many churches are doing these days!

    One of the quotes that closely describes my experience, is found on page 69, ” Once you build an institution together you have to protect it and its assets to be good stewards. It confuses everything. Even love gets redefined as that which protects the institution and unloving as that which does not. It will turn some of the nicest people in the world into raging maniacs and they never stop to think that all the name-calling and accusations are the opposite of love…It’s love with a hook…We give our affection only to those who serve our interests, and withhold it from those who do not.”

    Time to move on, and find a group of believers who practice being the CHURCH, because I want to engage in humble worship and prayer, Holy Spirit-led teaching and preaching, and loving fellowship with others who focus on glorifying God, and serving others. To me, this is what “going to church” should be.

  4. This book had put into language what I was feeling in my heart about church at the time. My experience, definition and appreciation of the church has never been the same ever since. Thanks for this review!

  5. Jack Swager permalink

    You mentioned almost being given permission not to go to church. I received that freedom many years ago when one of the elders exhorted us on Sunday morning that we shouldn’t be there in the meeting unless we wanted to be. We had Sunday night meetings we all went to and as I was getting dressed for the meeting I realized how much I didn’t want to go. I remembered the elder’s word that morning and decided not to I go. The next day another elder I worked with asked me why I wasn’t at the night meeting and I told him that I took Gene’s word to heart. The elder said, “That’s not what Gene meant”. I told him, “Well it’s what God had me hear.” After that I never missed a meeting because I had eagerness to go since I was free to not go if I didn’t feel to. It was a major spiritual growth moment. Since then I have been to many institutional churches finding them very disappointing and have come to realize that their time is over. They are Ichabod, “The Glory Has Departed”. God’s people, those who love Jesus are being led out of the church system, Praise God and Jesus our Lord and Savior.

    • MizB permalink

      Thanks for sharing! I can now say that I’ve taken the “almost” out of that sentence… I feel free not to go to church on Sunday mornings, as I’ve come to realize that the Bible never said we have to meet in a church building… it just says not to neglect meeting together with other believers {Hebrews 10:25}, and I try to keep getting out with them via BIble study.

      I really feel that, if I’m going to the church building on Sunday mornings because others feel I “should”, then I shouldn’t be going at all… it should be me going out of my love for the Lord, and my desire to please Him by going to His house and worshipping. It should be an act that flows out of my love for God, not out of my sense of obligation, or my shame at what others will think of me if I don’t go.

      That’s my take, anyway.

      Again, thanks for your thoughts! ;)

      ~MizB

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