From Publishers Weekly
It could be the pilot script for a sitcom: a pastor hires an atheist to help him critique several Christian churches throughout the United States. For the authors, however, this experiment was no joke. Henderson, a veteran Protestant minister, truly believes that evangelism requires listening to the good, the bad and the ugly about Christianity in order to be a better minister. So he hired Casper, an atheist copywriter and musician, to serve as "fresh eyes" and observe how a variety of Christians engage the Divine through worship. Their travels took them to a mission-minded church, an Emergent church and to Joel Osteen's megachurch, among others. In the book, Henderson peppers his partner with questions about each service, and Casper comments on everything from preaching to music to the geographical location of the churches. The take-home point, which is simultaneously simple, profound and of great importance to Christianity is, "Why are there such glaring discrepancies among churches regarding what it means to be a follower of Christ?" The two authors include some banal dialogue at times, but this is a minor distraction. Anyone interested in contemporary evangelism, especially pastors, will enjoy and learn from this humorous and heartening travelogue. (Apr.)
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From the Back Cover
“ Is this what Jesus told you guys to do?”
Light shows, fog machines, worship bands, offering plates—is this what Jesus intended? Atheist Matt Casper wants to know.
Longtime Christian Jim Henderson realized he’d been immersed in church culture for so long that he had no idea how a nonbeliever might interpret a usual Sunday service . . . or what might inspire him or her to come back.
So he decided to ask! Jim invited an atheist—Matt Casper—to visit twelve leading churches with him and give the “first impression” perspective of a skeptic. Week after week, this spiritual odd couple attended services at churches all over the country and documented their experiences and reactions. Along the way, they found the real value of their journey in the open and authentic friendship that developed as they talked, questioned, joked, and—most important—listened.
Follow along with Jim and Casper on their visits, and eavesdrop as they discuss what they found. Their articulate, sometimes humorous, and always insightful dialogue offers Christians a new view of an environment where we’ve become overly comfortable: the church.
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