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Messy Spirituality Paperback – July 29, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (July 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310277302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310277309
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Yaconelli has an annoying habit of speaking the truth. As an author, he changed the face of youth ministry over the past three decades with his honest approach to the challenges of today's youth. As former editor of The Wittenberg Door (now simply The Door), he and his staff humorously challenged what they saw as the church's many hypocrisies and inconsistencies. Here, Yaconelli explores the perfectionism that plagues so many in the church, an examination that is both challenging and deeply personal. He does an excellent job of naming some of the unspoken assumptions in today's church context, arguing, for example, that the church "has communicated that competence is one of the fruits of the Spirit." But even more effective are his vivid stories, where he gives blood and flesh to the idea of grace lost and found again in the church. The power of these stories makes the book reminiscent of Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace?, but Yaconelli's stories are more personal, many coming from his own congregation. His honest reflections on his own frustrations and deep feelings of inadequacy are unusual for a book about Christian spirituality. While he seeks to connect with and help Christians who feel secretly ashamed about their lack of discipleship, he may lose some readers who feel uncomfortable with such levels of honesty. Those who persevere will discover a wonderful treasure.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Yaconelli has an annoying habit of speaking the truth. As an author, he changed the face of youth ministry over the past three decades with his honest approach to the challenges of today's youth. As former editor of The Wittenberg Door (now simply The Door), he and his staff humorously challenged what they saw as the church's many hypocrisies and inconsistencies. Here, Yaconelli explores the perfectionism that plagues so many in the church, an examination that is both challenging and deeply personal. He does an excellent job of naming some of the unspoken assumptions in today's church context, arguing, for example, that the church 'has communicated that competence is one of the fruits of the Spirit.' But even more effective are his vivid stories, where he gives blood and flesh to the idea of grace lost and found again in the church. The power of these stories makes the book reminiscent of Philip Yancey's What's So Amazing About Grace?, but Yaconelli's stories are more personal, many coming from his own congregation. His honest reflections on his own frustrations and deep feelings of inadequacy are unusual for a book about Christian spirituality. While he seeks to connect with and help Christians who feel secretly ashamed about their lack of discipleship, he may lose some readers who feel uncomfortable with such levels of honesty. Those who persevere will discover a wonderful treasure. (Mar.) -- Publisher's Weekly <br><br> --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Michael Yaconelli has been in the ministry for forty-two years, both as a pastor and a minister to students. He is the lay pastor of Grace Community Church, owner and cofounder of Youth Specialties, former editor of "The Door", and the author of Dangerous Wonder. He lives in Yreka, California.

Customer Reviews

It's always good to be reminded that God loves us - God loves people.
j
Only by getting stuck can we get unstuck, so sometimes it's good for us to be in a bad place.
Christina Lockstein
It is an easy read, filled with vivid stories and written for the laity.
James

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Tom Hinkle on March 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you're a perfect, upstanding, respectable, fully mature Christian, you may not identify with very much in this book. If you're like the other 99.9% of us, this book is a capital-G Godsend. It may be a revelation to some that a person can sincerely love Jesus and be a seeker of God yet continue to display weaknesses, areas of non-discipline, and, let's just say it, sins that would seem incongruous with "true" Christianity. There are many out there that feel like second-class Christians because they feel they don't pray enough, or may occasionally use salty language, or smoke cigarettes, or...fill in the blanks. This is a book not only for those people, but for those who are tempted to sit in judgment over those people.
Mike Yaconelli is former editor of "The Door", probably the only Christian humor magazine around, and is presently a lay pastor of a small church. He sees below the surface mess of people's lives and invites the reader out of a world of self-condemnation and into a land of freedom. Some may be concerned that this book gives people a license to sin. Well, most people sin quite well without a license! When we are honest before God and give up pretending that our lives are neat and tidy, that's when God can take the messes of our lives and redeem them into something beautiful. This is a little book, but it packs a big punch. Highly recommended.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By David E. Reynolds on February 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In one of the chapters of the book, Yaconelli says, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd."
I have always felt like I was odd, a poor fit for the church. I've had unconventional views of Jesus, discipleship and ways to approach life that have made some people uncomfortable and left me wondering whether I was a nut, apostate or both.
Central to my philosophy of discipleship is the idea that Jesus died not to make us clean or obedient, but to form us to be passionate about knowing him in the midst of our profound uncleanness and disobedience. To have made it to age 35 with 15 years as an intentional disciple without getting smoked by God because of my sin leads me to believe that God's interest is in something more than my mere behavior.
Yet, I have felt alone in this view. Mostly because it cuts against the vast grain that is so deeply entwined in church culture. You can't earn your salvation, but buddy, once you get it, you better work your bootocks off! But I have come to the point where I realize I can keep scrubbing but the dirt and mess is always there. And frankly, sometimes, I just get weary from the scrubbing.
Yaconelli has written a book that celebrates the messy Christian. He authenticates the lonely disciple who refuses to believe that following Christ is about being well-behaved, "balanced," clean, and uniformly consistent with the church's list of What-To-Do/What-Not-To-Do.
This book has caused me to weep with soulful tears because of its recognition of who I am: a man with a deep love for God and a deep love for himself and a deep love for sin. Yaconelli doesn't try to resolve the tension. He just lets you step into the wonder of loving a God who gladly accepts -- and maybe even CALLS us into -- messy, eliptical pursuits of him.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Harold McFarland HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes it is difficult to write an appropriate review for a book, such is the case here. It would be impossible in a brief review to convey the depth of understanding and clear vision of God and spirituality that this book conveys. If you are a Christian and in your Mary Poppins world think yourself to be practically perfect in every way, then this is not the book for you. For everyone else, including those who need to deal with perfect Christians, this is one of the best books that I have ever read on the subject of Christianity and spirituality. The focus of the text is to challenge one of the most insidious practices of the church, the expectation of perfection among its members, rituals and procedures. Through personal examples Michael Yaconelli illustrates the true grace of God and how it should show through in all the ways we interact with others. If you have been taught to berate yourself because you are less than a perfect Christian, this book is a breath of fresh air that truly frees you from those chains of what you "should" be. I have read many books on Christianity, theology, Bible Studies, etc. and many of them have been excellent, but if there were one book that I would recommend above all others this is the one that should be in every Christian's hands.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By L. Zechinato on September 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who has been a believer for more than a few years has felt pressure to conform to false ideals of spirituality from time to time. This book speaks to those of us who've tried and failed to be what we thought was spiritual only to discover that our dysfunctions were simply agreeing with others people's dysfunctions. I borrowed "Messy Spirituality" from a coworker a month ago after hearing "interesting" things about Yac. As I read the first chapter I smiled, laughed and shed some tears.

I had to chuckle as one reviewer opined that this book could be "dangerous" in the wrong hands. Wasn't that the charge made against the apostle Paul? "He's telling them to go sin because God's grace makes everything okay!" Paul spent a lot of energy trying to debunk that mischaracterization with little success. It's a tough pill to swallow. I am free in Christ, even to be bad. But if I am compelled by love, why would I do wrong? That's the million-dollar question, and explains why an authentic walk with God is a truly messy affair. We wander, get lost, then find that he's right there in the middle of the remotest trail getting in our way again. Amazing grace.

Read "dangerous" Messy Spirituality for yourself. :) Hopefully you'll feel more liberated to be yourself on your journey instead of trying to follow someone else's ideal.
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