I have read through some of the previous reviews and been struck by the sense of alarm, and at times, panic induced by reading this book.
What concerns me most about that, is that it indicates that as a church (in the widest possible sense) we seem to have forgotten the art, nay the responsibility of studying, questionning and debating our beliefs.
It seems over the course of time we have been taught to simply accept whatever we are taught from the pulpit, without necessarily chewing it over a great deal. We simply swallow it wholesale. Literally. And without question.
I think a mark of maturity in a Christian is being able to reflect on new/very old ideas and perspectives, without feeling threatened or defensive.
Bell takes a look at some common and less common aspects of the Christian faith and puts them under the spotlight, asking some searching questions. I found the book to be exciting, challenging and thought-provoking.
Please, let's not turn off our God-given intellect when we walk into church and sit down.Let us instead ENGAGE with the issues facing the church and the society with which we are inextricably linked. Let us debate and discuss, and perhaps be brave enough to admit that sometimes our nice 'pat' answers aren't always enough.
If we can dare to be real and honest enough with our non-christian friends and workmates, so that they can see we are normal people, who have faith, rather than perfect, pious, 'untouchables', then perhaps Jesus might just become a little more accessible, and little less far away?