I think Jim and Casper did a good job of creatively getting their opinions across about the churches they visited together. But the approach they took in this "research" project is not really very balanced. I felt they both demonstrated a lot of their biases. Please don't read this book and think you have just researched what the unchurched, or atheists in your town think. This research is only as scientific as any two people talking about anything can be. You can get a more accurate read on what people think where you live by talking to people yourself.
Still, I liked the book and I wish they would have been able to go to a few other places in the country to make the research a little more balanced. I also wish they would have included more opinions from a broader range of people. There are some good insights in the book. But for the most part, I don't think the insights are as important as Jim and Casper seem to feel they are. To me, the authors seemed just as self-absorbed in their own agendas, supposed insights, and dare I say, egos as they judged the leaders and church members they critiqued to be.
However, I do think it is very healthy for the the current contemporary "gurus" to be getting a taste of their own style of criticism for a change. Many of these churches also have insights that are not as important as they think they are--but ya gotta love their newsletters and blogs! Heck, most of my insights are not as important as I think they are. So, I think it is healthy to let yourself be vulnerable, be more open to other people, and try to dialogue with people about the truth. That is a good lesson that makes this book worth reading.
The book's premise is good. The conflict in the concept for the book really sells it: "Atheist and Christian evaluate church together and make friends along the way"--had me at "hello". The book's premise was good, but the book's message: "Atheist is not down with the happenings in the Evangelical church" was, well, predictable. Still it sells, so maybe Jim needs to take this concept further with other books.
>>"Jim and Veronica Vegan go to the Sizzler" Book's message: "What's up with the agenda of having all that meat on the menu?"
>>"Jim and Dave Ramsey go to a Credit Card Convention" Book's message: "What's the deal with so much talk about interest rates?"
>>"Jim and Osama Bin Laden visit Jerusalem" Books message: "What? No hugs?"
>>"Jim and Ben and Jerry tour the Halliburton Plant" Books message: "Why don't these people want to talk shop?"
[Side note: If Casper wants Christian people to be more up front, real, and all John-Lennon-like, I think he needs to take a little of his own advice. Is it just me, or wouldn't one think that if you take a job at Outreach Marketing designing church marketing materials, that you shouldn't be sanctimonious if they act shocked when they find you've been hiding you are an atheist while working there?]