Takeaway: As with many other areas of life, holding grudges against the church hurts you more than the church.
Purchase Links: Hardcover, Kindle Edition
Stephen Mansfield has become well known for writing about the faith of politicians. His books on Bush, Obama, Delay, Palin and Churchhill have sold well and helped Mansfield become a regular on the talk show and speaker circuit. I have not read any of those books, so I cannot speak to them. I did read God and Guinness and thought it was decent. ReChurch is a very different book from all of those.
Stephen Mansfield before he became a writer, speaker and consultant, was a pastor. For ten years he was the pastor of a growing church until a disagreement with church elders left him without a church, job and bitter. He does not give details about the incident, but does talk frankly about the hurt.
I am a pastor’s kid. My brother, father, grandfather and a bunch of uncles are (or were) pastors. I am well aquatinted with the hurt that occurs inside the church. Mansfield is not about coddling the hurt person, instead he wants to see them healed and back inside a church. This is not an especially gentle book. But I think on the whole it is a very helpful one.
Churches hurt people. That is part of the human experience of sin. Often the hurt is over little things, sometimes it is over large things. But no matter the cause, once someone has left the church because they have been hurt, it is hard to get over the hurt and get back into church.
One of the important messages is that hurt people are not alone:
“When you think of that great cloud of witnesses that Hebrews 12 describes, you must not think of them as perfect saints who never suffered as we do. Instead you must see them as the flawed and the betrayed and the wounded who simply chose to live above the programming of their pain….The confirmations of history is that we are not called despite our wounding and betrayal; we are wounded and betrayed because we are called.”
There are a few theological points where I disagree, but on the whole I think this is a helpful book. Just picking up the book and reading it a good step. Unfortunately, many that are most in need of help getting back into the church, will be those that are least likely to pick it up.