Steeple Envy, by Victor Cuccia

The author, like so many who write about the church these days, presents his dire assessment of religion. It is much more of a description, declaring what he ‘sees’ has, is, and will most likely be the path of Christianity – if we don’t do something about it – than a solution. There is little to disagree with.

The author openly confesses, through various anecdotes, how he has himself responded to American commodified religiosity. He makes it clear that he doesn’t have all the answers and is still on his journey of discovery – flirting, maybe, even with a ‘second naivete’. Some of us may be in that same transitional boat.

Cuccia compares what he believes the Bible has really called us to as followers of Jesus to what has been the predominant practice of religion. He doesn’t hesitate to apply the caustic woes preached by Jesus against the Pharisees, to the Pharisaical folks of our day.

Overall, it seems clear that the author has moved well out of a first naivete, and is finding it – at this point – rather cathartic to label what he has left behind. Many will need this book to identify where they are – and to find hope that there is ‘something better’ ahead. A few will find this book a rather tedious revisiting of old gripes they have long left behind now that they have actually entered the ‘something better’.

It is rather comically ironic that the Amazon listing of this book links to companies selling steeples just before you reach the reviews of Cuccia’s book. One such ad says, ‘over 25 years of satisfied church steeple customers’. The automatic computer-driven association between the word ‘steeple’ in the book title and steeple’s for sale underscores, as a metaphor, the very premise of his book – the ‘mindless’ ways that we practice religion.

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