The Bride(zilla) of Christ: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

bridezillaThe Good:

This was an unexpectedly beneficial read. I was expecting horror stories of fist-fights in the foyer, worship wars over the contemporary bagpipe harmonica band, or maybe pastors become crack addicts to make it through board meetings. Admittedly, that would have been a fun read, but less helpful. Bride(Zilla) did give plenty of honest stories, enough to know the authors had been on the receiving side of plenty of church hurt. But, the book offers hope for the church and ourselves, pushing back hard at the idea that all the hurt is caused by others, leaving us off the hook. Other than being convicted (how dare they), I loved the book.

The Bad:

I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t more practical help for “What to Do When God’s People Hurt God’s People,” (the subtitle). Gluck and Martin did emphasize that the gospel has the power to reconcile severed relationships, and pushed back hard on the idea to simply run away to solve our problems.

The book also jumps around a bit, hitting on some tangents that seem to be big issues for the authors. The church not focusing on singles is one. And the idea that that the church has become a place of entitlement for spoiled believers is another. It was a bit of a tangent, but the chapter on entitlement was one of my favorites, helping to me to think through why we do what we do, and how we might unintentionally be enabling the entitlement mentality at our church. Here are some quotes from that section. . .

“There’s a lot of talk these days about entitlement…. The disease of entitlement has historically had just as much of a hold on the church as anywhere else… Let me get straight to the gist of this chapter: the overflow of an ungrateful heart is consumerism…  We attend church to be served, not to serve. We attend church to be won over, not to worship. We attend church to complain, not to confess… we simply attend, and we believe the church should attend to the space that we’re paying tithes to fill… The problem, of course, is that consumerism in the church creates causalities.”

The Ugly:

As a pastor, I can say with some experience that there are times when church sucks – and times when it is the most wonderful, powerful, life-changing place on the planet. This book had to focus on the ugly side of church, but somehow, for me, it ended up being medicine for healing some of the old hurts, and helped me realize how I was part of the problem.

I loved this encouraging line: “The hurt is not the deepest thing. Grace is deeper still.”

I was hoping I’d get a new car for writing this review. Had that been the case, I might have lied. However, all I got was a book free from the Blogging for Books Blogger Review Program. As a result, I was honest. Dang it.

 

 

Don’t Buy This Book

essentialsOfTheHeartSusan Weagant has updated her book, Essentials of the Heart. I was asked to write an endorsement. Here’s what I think.

Don’t buy this book. It will make you think about where you are, and where you would like to be, and give steps to change – you don’t want that. You’ll get engrossed in the stories, and then hit in the heart by the scripture woven in. The next thing you know you will want to make the changes suggested, and you will start down the path to a life of fulfillment. Trust me, it’s much easier to stay stuck. Put the book back.

Daniel Cooley

 

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How Your Church Family Works: the good, the bad, and the ugly

I always wondered why God chose the church. We petty, anxious, selfish people can make a mess of His message. A supernatural “Jesus Saves” written with mountains floating in the air would cause less drama. Assuming God knows what He is doing, we need a way to work together in this family called church. For that, Steinke’s book is priceless.

 

The Good: This book was great – fun to read, immensely practical, convicting and encouraging. I can’t recommend it highly enough – especially to those in ministry. I especially liked the “7 Responses to Promote Health: Self not others, strength not weakness; process not content; challenge not comfort, integrity not unity; system not symptom; direction not condition.” OK, you need definitions to apply, but trust me they are good.

I also was helped by the idea of Triangles. “When A is at odds with B, the most anxious of the pair introduces C (third party) to reduce anxiety between A and B. For example, God confronts Adam about his disobedience. Anxious Adam shifts the burden to Eve. When she encounters God, Eve blames the snake.” So glad I’ve never done that.

And my favorite quote: “Anxiety creates its own disaster.” Gregory Bateson.

 

The Bad: The first half is more theoretical; the second half has more stories to illustrate the truths. And graphs. So, the second half is way more interesting. The bad thing is, you can’t really understand the second half without reading through from the beginning. Trust me on this one. To Steinke’s credit, even the first half is a good read.

 

The Ugly: I’ve been in church work for about 30 years, and now this book comes out. I’d have handled a lot of ugly in a more redemption fashion, had Steinke written this and I applied it sooner. So, it’s all Steinke’s fault. Thanks Steinke, now no more anxiety between me A and them B.

dan@danielcooley.com

AllBks

 

 

The Quarrelsome Wife and Her 7 Stages of Labor and Delivery. (Without TMI)

One of the best blogs of all time. Best line? “My sister is about drop a baby in your triage.”

LateToEveryParty

I’m about to do something I vowed never to do – write a mom blog. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This I promise you:

I promise never to describe the color, quantity or consistency of my child’s poop.
I promise never to describe the color, quantity or consistency of my child’s spit up.

Like, seriously mom bloggers, stop it and leave that to webmd.

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Proverbs 21:19 Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

I was 4 months pregnant when my husband said, “I’ve been reading a lot about natural child birth.”
“Hippie, no! Stop right there. When YOU have the next baby, we’ll talk about it.”
“Hear me out. I’ve read a lot about the effects of medication in labor…”
“Oh really? Read anything about the success rate of marriages afterwards?”

He never brought it up again.

223091_10156609198045510_6683875720608028648_nStage 1: Denial.

For an entire day I was…

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