Not the Religious Type

not-the-religious-typeDavid Schmelzer’s book, Not the Religious Type (2008 Tyndale), is a quick but engaging, folksy but spiritually challenging read.  Quoting from Al Capone to M. Scott Peck, Bilbo Baggins to C.S. Lewis, he seduces us back from esoteric constructs to the simplicity of the gospel. 

David suggests that church systems move through stages of spiritual growth and, much like individuals, can get stuck along the way – ceasing to serve out their original purpose.  Where we are in our spirituality is directly proportional to our influence in the world.  Rejecting religious systems is not necessarily a rejection of God, but a jettisoning of the self-protective confines of a human system for the freedom that arises from living in Christ.

He makes a case for a Christianity that is relational – being totally conversant with Jesus as the Truth – rather than moral-static reiterations of truth.  Relational Christianity is a movement from wherever we have become believers towards the life transformational Jesus rather than merely remaining in the ‘place’ where we last encountered Jesus as if the moment was sacred.  The Person-referenced believer perceives the world out of daily conversations with God rather from our safe, ordinary world of creedal conformity. 

Probably the most intriguing, yet reality confronting notion that permeates this book is the manner in which he actually talks to God as a friend.  God speaks back to us and what is heard in the mind is to be accepted as His response.  It is this faith in the living, relational God that has been the attractive basis of Pentecostal growth as well as hopeful inspiration to the unchurched who have not – up to this point – found much of any value in Christian religion. 

Schmelzer’s God invites us to speak to Him from our unique culture-based stories and to listen for His voice speaking to us within the context of our culture-based stories.  The voice you hear is the voice of him who is the Truth, the Way, and the Life.  In concert with the written truth and within the counsel of the body, accept the wisdom that comes from above as the answer to your prayer and act as spoken to.  The choice is ours.  Will we continue living the non-miraculous, ordinary life or will we choose the ever awe-inspiring, mystical and supernaturally infused life of a disciple of Christ? 

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