Home > Book discussion > Book discussion: Introduction to Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer

Book discussion: Introduction to Mere Churchianity by Michael Spencer

For all of the authors of Christian books, magazine articles and blog articles I’ve read over the years, there aren’t a lot I would consider to have significantly influenced my life, who helped me in some way in my Christian life.

I subscribe to more than 400 blogs; very few of them would be favorites, ones whose voice and Jesus-shaped Christianity truly minister to me.

Internet Monk, begun by the late Michael Spencer several years ago, has been such a blog. And Spencer has been such a writer.

Spencer, a teacher at an eastern Kentucky boarding school who passed away earlier this year after a battle with cancer, lived and breathed Jesus Christ.

His articles were covered in Jesus…and devoid of the religiosity and spiritually-correct Christianity that many evangelicals unknowingly embrace. As the saying goes, it did my soul good to read Spencer’s articles and commentaries.

Spencer is sorely missed by many, but his articles are still available at Internet Monk for all who are interested. We’ll look more at his life on Saturday.

Next Tuesday, I’ll post a review of a book he wanted desperately to finish and live long enough to see published. Mere Churchianity turned out to be his first, and (so far) only published book, and it is vintage Michael Spencer.

To whet your appetite, I’ve posted a link to a pdf of the introduction to the book that its publisher, WaterBrook Press, made available for free download to all.

The intro is Spencer’s belated response to a letter from a young lady who complained about something many Christians might find absolutely trivial – but was enough to drive her into atheism – and enough for Spencer to take seriously.

It sets up the discussion for his remainder of Spencer’s book, in which he asks how Christians can follow Jesus and be Jesus-influenced apart from the sometimes arrogant, smug religiosity of the Christian subculture.

Spencer also addresses those who, fed up with the Christian subculture and even church for any number of reasons, simply have walked away. That might resonate strongly with some of you.

I encourage you to read this introduction, then come back here to discuss it.

And if you haven’t yet ordered Mere Churchianity, I highly recommend it to you. It’s available via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I purchased this book myself, and my opinions are my own and not those of the author nor the publisher. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  1. June 24, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Brian, thanks for this discussion! I will link to it at Internet Monk.

  2. Buster
    June 24, 2010 at 11:18 am

    “We assumed that being in church would make us like Jesus.
    Church programs and events filled our days, and everyone
    assumed that more church equaled more Jesus.

    “We knew very little about what Jesus was doing on earth
    besides dying and rising again two thousand years ago.”

    Can’t wait to read the rest of the book…

  3. pstrmike
    June 24, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Conversely, I knew that staying “out of church” would make me less like Jesus which it soon did. Birds of feather…….

  4. [o_O]
    June 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    This book will be in my hands ASAP.

    Missing Jesus, focusing on everything before, after, around Him, reading memos from his followers and org leaders, titling myself by His title yet rarely embracing His Name, those were similar realizations which stripped me of some of my religion, yet I feel like the never ending unfinished project stuck in the sanding phase…

    I think Spencer is telling the ugly family secrets, and it’s cathartic & liberating

  5. Buster
    June 24, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    My guess is that TIM is using the phrase, “being in church,” in mind of how the typical American would: present on Sunday and mid-week, involved in one or more ministries, the annual cookout, etc. If you want more Jesus, get your self more church.

    So to the typical American, the opposite also true: less church = less Jesus.

    I would anticipate that he’s heading toward the thesis that in order to become more like Jesus, we don’t need more church, we need more Jesus! Part of that Jesus found in his followers, so fellowship and worship with them is highly important, but that notion of church is different from the typical one of buildings and programs.

  6. BrianD
    June 24, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I’ll address the ‘out of church’ idea next week, Pstr.

    It’s important to note that Spencer wound up in a local congregation before he died.

    It’s also important to note he’s speaking to those burnt by the christian subculture, on the outside.

  7. BrianD
    June 24, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    And, it’s a challenge to us professed Christ-followers on how we act – at the restaurant, in the office, in the shop, in public.

    Broken as we are, we can easily deceive ourselves, thinking we’re fine, when our behavior is atrocious…and sometimes we can make amends, and sometimes we have to suffer the consequences.

  8. jlo
    June 24, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    bought the book today, looking forward the discussion.

  9. BrianD
    June 24, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Thanks, jlo!

  10. BrianD
    June 24, 2010 at 9:52 pm
  11. Buster
    June 24, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Mmmm… pie….
    and it comes in it’s own storage container too, if you can’t finish it.

  12. BrianD
    June 24, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    handy storage container, isn’t it?

    Going back to your #5 comment…I’ll leave the answer for Tuesday.

  13. jlo
    June 24, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    read chapter one, funny thing is i keep highlightting and writing in the margins like i’m going to teach this book?? hmmm, no where to teach at this time.

  14. BrianD
    June 24, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    jlo, who knows?

  15. jlo
    June 24, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    If God leads, I’ll follow. Haven’t taught in a few years.

  16. BrianD
    June 24, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    That’s usually how it works, jlo…

  17. BrianD
    June 24, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    You know, we’re not that far from 777 comments…

  18. jlo
    June 24, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    how far is not that far…..

  19. BrianD
    June 24, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    not 666 🙂


  20. BrianD
    June 24, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    If nothing else, the notes may come in handy later on, jlo.

    I don’t take notes, but I do a lot of highlighting on important points. I’m also intrigued by C.J. Mahaney’s 1 percent rule: if you forget 99 percent of what you read, that’s fine, but what is the 1 percent you take away that makes an impact on you?

  21. jlo
    June 24, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    ahh, the 1 percent. the one out of 99, like it.

  22. June 24, 2010 at 11:55 pm

    My problem is I end up remembering the copyright info and the index…

  23. jlo
    June 24, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    eric, shame on you. 😆

  24. BrianD
    June 24, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    For you then, Eric, it’s 2 percent 😉

    jlo…better to remember one thing than nothing…I do have trouble now remembering and retaining the bulk of info from a book..

  25. jlo
    June 24, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Ya know Brian, I was thinking as I was reading, this book has a huge, I repeat HUGH, application.

    I’m trying to fully absorb as I read, so I’m going to try to go through it slowly, but it is difficult as the book is very engaging.

    My prior training is to highlight and pose question to a group at large, thus the highlighting and writing in the margins.

  26. BrianD
    June 25, 2010 at 12:01 am

    You bought the book at the bookstore, jlo, or downloaded it? Or are going by the intro?

  27. jlo
    June 25, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Read the into, then was intrigued enough to go and by the book. I belong to the boarder’s book club, so I went in store with my 33% discount. Couldn’t wait to have it shipped to me, just impatient that way.

  28. BrianD
    June 25, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Cool, jlo.

    I’m guessing you guys are over at Lugum…my day is not yet over but it’s been a long one…and I need to review my article for Friday before hitting the sack.

    Tomorrow (Friday) I explain how I see this blog developing…

  29. jlo
    June 25, 2010 at 1:25 am

    cool, looking forward to it Brian. Got to close down for the night, getting really tired,not much sleep last night.

  30. BrianD
    June 25, 2010 at 1:35 am

    good night…jlo and everyone else.

  31. Captain Kevin
    June 25, 2010 at 2:16 am

    Good night all!

  1. June 25, 2010 at 2:41 am

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