I recently finished the second book for the viral bloggers site. For the second book, I selected a two pack of a book and a CD. I will cover the CD first as it is relatively easy to review.
Dede – From the Fields of Boaz
Overall, there is not a lot that I have to say about the CD. It comes across as a demo CD with five tracks on it. For the most part I enjoyed the CD, but did think that it sounded unpolished. It did feel like it was a good combination to go with the book as most of the songs sounded as if they could be used in an intimate gathering for worship. I primarily enjoyed the message on songs four and five. The CD does have a fairly broad diversity in musical attempts and that is why it sounded somewhat like a demo CD. I would listen to a full CD if one was released, but for the most part, I would recommend it to someone else that was looking for something that had a good message and is something new.
On to the book review
Christ in Y’all by Neil Carter
For the most part, Ienjoyed the book. With that being said, I felt that the author should have focused on follwing Christ and less on trying to make the argument between traditional church attendance and home church. I find that he made the same mistake that many make when they wish to talk about the home church movement. Somewhere between deciding to leave the traditional church and begin meeting in homes, the ability to connect with others increases. The truth is that many people that write about why the small intimate house meetings are “better” seem to focus on Sunday only.
They fail to acknowledge that organic church relationships can be made in the traditional churches if the members are willing to extend the invitation to meeting people outside the Sunday service. But this problem of not having organic church life does not fall solely on the fact they go to a traditional church. The system may be flawed, but you have to admit that some of the problems fall on the individual. If you want to have organic life with people, then you have to spend time with them and meet with them. Just because you meet once or twice in a home, does not a relationship make. I can go to a home meeting and not form relationships with those there. I have been to several home meetings where I did not get to know the people involved any more than I would have known them had I been in a traditional church meeting. I think that people need to recognize that there are some faults with the traditional church model, but not all the problems are in the system. Some of them have to do with human laziness. Just changing how we meet, does not change the nature of the beast.
I will give the author credit for what he is trying to do and for admitting that the changes do take time. I just wish that author’s in this movement were willing to acknowledge that the traditional church is not an enemy. I wish that when I read some of these books, they would asknowledge that some of the same problems they point out with the traditional church can arise in home meetings as well. I have been a part of home churches where one man becomes a leader that teaches every week. I have been a part of home churches where there is a hidden leadership structure. As previously mentioned, there are home churches where people still meet once a week and have a very organized service and that is all the relationship that comes from it.
It is for that very reason, that I wish that many of these authors would focus on following the Spirit and following Christ example because it is in these areas, that I feel many of the authors that are writing from the home church movement perspective have very solid things to say. I enjoyed many of the points this author made about following Christ and living in the Spirit. I thought that Mr. Carter wrote in a very easy, concise manner that touched on some very good things that I think are skipped over in many places today. I think that for the most part if the author would have focused on living with a heart focused on the Lord and living in the Spirit then this book would have been much more beneficial to me. I also would not have run into some frustration becuase of those things previously stated.
The biggest question is whether I would reccomend it or not. I think that if you are into the Home Church movement, then this book is right up your alley and will be something that makes many of the arguments simple and straight forward. If you have not read any other books about the movement, this is a great starting place. It is a good introduction to authors like Frank Viola and the like. I am a fan of home churches, but I think that if you are going to make an argument against it, one needs to focus on how the system limits the Spirit moving or how the system can be the problem, but please do not forget that many of the people that attend traditional church are seeking the Lord and want to follow the Spirit. You can attack the system and how you feel it affects things, but be careful when it comes across about the people. If you want to have an organic church, the people are going to be the key.