From Publishers Weekly
Mehta, an atheist, once held an unusual auction on eBay: the highest bidder could send Mehta to a church of his or her choice. The winner, who paid $504, asked Mehta to attend numerous churches, and this book comprises Mehta's responses to 15 worshipping communities, including such prominent megachurches as Houston's Second Baptist, Ted Haggard's New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Willow Creek in suburban Chicago. (Mehta ranks Willow Creek as the church most likely to draw him back.) Mehta, who grew up Jain, offers some autobiographical context, then discusses nonreligious people's approach to topics such as death and suffering. But all that is just a preamble to Mehta's sketches of the churches he attended. He doesn't find much community in churches; families sit far apart from other families, and people race "out the front doors to their cars" as soon as the service ends. Churches earn high marks for Mehta when they offer great speakers and focus on community outreach, but they also do many things wrong, including singing repetitive songs and alienating non-Christians by ubiquitously proclaiming them to be "lost." Mehta's musings will interest Christians who seek to proselytize others and who want to identify their evangelistic mistakes. (Apr. 17)
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About the Author
is an honors graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he helped establish the organization Students WithOut Religious Dogma (SWORD). Mehta also is chair of the Secular Student Alliance’s board of directors. His story has been featured in the Wall Street Journal
, the Chicago Sun-Times
, the Seattle Times
, the Village Voice
, National Public Radio, and FOX News Channel, among other major news outlets. Currently, Mehta is working toward a masters degree in math education at DePaul University in Chicago.