MESSY SPIRITUALITY: God's Annoying Love for Imperfect People

Michael Yaconelli, Author . Zondervan $14.99 (144p) ISBN 978-0-310-23533-0

Yaconelli has an annoying habit of speaking the truth. As an author, he changed the face of youth ministry over the past three decades with his honest approach to the challenges of today's youth. As former editor of The Wittenberg Door (now simply The Door), he and his staff humorously challenged what they saw as the church's many hypocrisies and inconsistencies. Here, Yaconelli explores the perfectionism that plagues so many in the church, an examination that is both challenging and deeply personal. He does an excellent job of naming some of the unspoken assumptions in today's church context, arguing, for example, that the church "has communicated that competence is one of the fruits of the Spirit." But even more effective are his vivid stories, where he gives blood and flesh to the idea of grace lost and found again in the church. The power of these stories makes the book reminiscent of Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace?, but Yaconelli's stories are more personal, many coming from his own congregation. His honest reflections on his own frustrations and deep feelings of inadequacy are unusual for a book about Christian spirituality. While he seeks to connect with and help Christians who feel secretly ashamed about their lack of discipleship, he may lose some readers who feel uncomfortable with such levels of honesty. Those who persevere will discover a wonderful treasure. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/18/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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