hits counter If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus - Ebook PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus

Availability: Ready to download

“[Philip Gulley’s] vision of Christianity is grounded, gripping, and filled with uncommon sense. He is building bridges instead of boundaries, and such wisdom is surely needed now.” —Richard Rohr, O.F.M, author of Everything Belongs Quaker minister Philip Gulley, author of If Grace Is True and If God Is Love, returns with If the Church Were Christian: a challenging and thou “[Philip Gulley’s] vision of Christianity is grounded, gripping, and filled with uncommon sense. He is building bridges instead of boundaries, and such wisdom is surely needed now.” —Richard Rohr, O.F.M, author of Everything Belongs Quaker minister Philip Gulley, author of If Grace Is True and If God Is Love, returns with If the Church Were Christian: a challenging and thought-provoking examination of the author’s vision for today’s church… if Christians truly followed the core values of Jesus Christ. Fans of Shane Claiborne, Rob Bell, and unChristian will find much to discuss in If the Church Were Christian, as will anyone interested in the future of this institution.


Compare

“[Philip Gulley’s] vision of Christianity is grounded, gripping, and filled with uncommon sense. He is building bridges instead of boundaries, and such wisdom is surely needed now.” —Richard Rohr, O.F.M, author of Everything Belongs Quaker minister Philip Gulley, author of If Grace Is True and If God Is Love, returns with If the Church Were Christian: a challenging and thou “[Philip Gulley’s] vision of Christianity is grounded, gripping, and filled with uncommon sense. He is building bridges instead of boundaries, and such wisdom is surely needed now.” —Richard Rohr, O.F.M, author of Everything Belongs Quaker minister Philip Gulley, author of If Grace Is True and If God Is Love, returns with If the Church Were Christian: a challenging and thought-provoking examination of the author’s vision for today’s church… if Christians truly followed the core values of Jesus Christ. Fans of Shane Claiborne, Rob Bell, and unChristian will find much to discuss in If the Church Were Christian, as will anyone interested in the future of this institution.

30 review for If the Church Were Christian: Rediscovering the Values of Jesus

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    Another one from my tbr explode project, added in 2009 (the year before it was published!) A few years before that, I read Gulley's other non-fiction religion titles (If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person; If God Is Love: Rediscovering Grace in an Ungracious World), wrote him a letter, and he invited me to have lunch. I was in the midst of leaving church and wanted to understand how/why he stayed. So this was actually a pretty interesting follow-up. He looks at issues in the church fr Another one from my tbr explode project, added in 2009 (the year before it was published!) A few years before that, I read Gulley's other non-fiction religion titles (If Grace Is True: Why God Will Save Every Person; If God Is Love: Rediscovering Grace in an Ungracious World), wrote him a letter, and he invited me to have lunch. I was in the midst of leaving church and wanted to understand how/why he stayed. So this was actually a pretty interesting follow-up. He looks at issues in the church from condemnation to community, and compares it to various interpretations of Christian scriptures and teachings. He looks at some topics that were specific to my own reasons for leaving, such as fundamentalism, exclusion of lgbt+, and anti-feminist movements in various denominations. This is probably best for people working in ministry, those who are most likely to try to make changes. I've been there, tried that, and don't have the patience to stay in the bath, adding more and more warm water. But I do appreciate his perspective and what must be endless optimism. I just wish he read the audio! The reader was fine but was not the author, who is warm and genuine. Despite coming to a different conclusion, I will always hold the time he took for me in high regard.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I loved this book! The author has some significantly different beliefs than my own, yet I came away with a boatload of ideas for improving my spiritual life. Such a good reminder to go back to the primary source, the words and actions of Jesus himself, as we practice Christianity. My favorite passage is in the last chapter, where Gulley describes the lives of Ben and Dorotha, an elderly couple who “…lived on one Social Security check and gave the other away. They raised chickens so they could dis I loved this book! The author has some significantly different beliefs than my own, yet I came away with a boatload of ideas for improving my spiritual life. Such a good reminder to go back to the primary source, the words and actions of Jesus himself, as we practice Christianity. My favorite passage is in the last chapter, where Gulley describes the lives of Ben and Dorotha, an elderly couple who “…lived on one Social Security check and gave the other away. They raised chickens so they could distribute eggs. They had extensive gardens and shared their produce. They opened their home to guests and persons in need. They embodied, in every way, the principle of mutual care and responsibility.” He goes on to say that many people show kindness and compassion, but it is usually sporadic and doesn’t require much sacrifice. Ben and Dorotha, on the other hand, “…seemed intentional about their manner of living and its implications for the wider world. Consequently, they lived far beneath their means and put their assets to good use for others…” If I have any criticism, it is this: there are almost too many anecdotes. It seems as if every paragraph is a new story of some church member, church leader, or entire congregation that perfectly embodies the principle he is putting forth. I found myself thinking, wow, this guy knows a ton of people! Regardless, any book that inspires me to go out and just do better gets five stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kit

    I agree with everthing Philip Gulley says in this critique of "church" - by which he means pretty much every Christian denomination in America (he is a Quaker). And if you wonder how he could lump all the Christian denominations together, just ask yourself if you think the Sanctuary Carpet-Choosing Committee meeting looks or sounds very different no matter which denomination you're in. And that's what Gulley is really talking about here - not in-depth theology (although he does touch on big theol I agree with everthing Philip Gulley says in this critique of "church" - by which he means pretty much every Christian denomination in America (he is a Quaker). And if you wonder how he could lump all the Christian denominations together, just ask yourself if you think the Sanctuary Carpet-Choosing Committee meeting looks or sounds very different no matter which denomination you're in. And that's what Gulley is really talking about here - not in-depth theology (although he does touch on big theological themes and how they affect congregations) but in the church's culture. Specifically, he's aiming to shine a light on our unconscious acceptance of certain things in church culture (why do we get so uncomfortable when people ask questions about our creeds, when Jesus didn't even lay out a creed? why do we so seldom call people in our congregations on their behavior when they're being rude and even downright disfunctional?) to get people to start thinking about whether our *customs* are really meant to be part of our *religion*. I'm not sure that this is the best approach to reach people who don't already agree with what he's saying, and you can see that in some of the scathing reviews on Amazon (which focus mostly on his personal religious beliefs and the reader's opinion of them). I may be being too cynical, but I think it's more likely to convince some spiritural-but-not-religious people that Christians might not all be narrow-minded bigots than it is to convince conservative Christians that they should think Gulley's way.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    I was lucky to have found this book at a library sale. I had heard of his other work "If Grace is True", and have been wanting to read it. So when I saw this laying on that table, I had to have it. And I'm very glad I found it. Reading this book was almost like finding someone had taken many of the different things I believe about religion and faith and had written them out for me - in a way I know I never could. Books like this mean a lot to me - someone who is often considered a "heretic" for co I was lucky to have found this book at a library sale. I had heard of his other work "If Grace is True", and have been wanting to read it. So when I saw this laying on that table, I had to have it. And I'm very glad I found it. Reading this book was almost like finding someone had taken many of the different things I believe about religion and faith and had written them out for me - in a way I know I never could. Books like this mean a lot to me - someone who is often considered a "heretic" for coming to different conclusions than what is considered "mainstream" or "traditional". I think it's important for authors like Philip Gulley to show that there really *is* another way of looking at faith, a way that can be different while still being valid. Of course I agree with him completely on the various issues he mentions throughout this text. This is a side of Jesus, a side of Christianity, more people need to see. And since this book was written in a way that is so read so easily and quickly, it's something that anyone can read and consider, which I highly suggest. I loved this book, and I am certain I will recommend it to many. I'm also that much more certain that I can't wait to read his others, as well! :)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tenille Shade

    I have read Phillip Gulley's other theology books, but this one is probably my favorite. His perspective on how the church has lost its way resonates with my own faith struggles. I have been battlings a deep sense of disillusionment for years now, and when I read a book like this I realize I am not alone. Gulley gives the reader permission to question the churches' deeply rooted traditions, and reminds us that grace should triumph fear. If you consider yourself "open-minded", this book will chal I have read Phillip Gulley's other theology books, but this one is probably my favorite. His perspective on how the church has lost its way resonates with my own faith struggles. I have been battlings a deep sense of disillusionment for years now, and when I read a book like this I realize I am not alone. Gulley gives the reader permission to question the churches' deeply rooted traditions, and reminds us that grace should triumph fear. If you consider yourself "open-minded", this book will challenge your definition of that term. I found myself questioning several doctrines I've believed my whole life. Most importantly, I have a refreshed view of who Jesus is, and I am inspired to live a life that radiates his mercy and grace. As I read each chapter, I kept pausing and reading sections out loud to my husband. As the book drew to a close, I decided I would invite friends on Facebook to join me in a book study. Dialoguing and discussing the concepts presented in this book will help us all evolve and grow spiritually. If you are interested in joining the discussion group, we will meet on August 27th @ 7:00 in Denton. More info. can be found on Facebook!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Julianna

    Reviewed for THC Reviews I’ve had If the Church Were Christian on my TBR list for a while now, so when it was coincidentally chosen as our church book club pick this month, I eagerly dove into reading it. Some of the things Rev. Gulley had to say mirrored things that I’ve read in other progressive Christian books, and some were more unique to his personal perspective. I have to give him credit for being a great storyteller who sucked me right into the book. He also has a talent for boiling issues Reviewed for THC Reviews I’ve had If the Church Were Christian on my TBR list for a while now, so when it was coincidentally chosen as our church book club pick this month, I eagerly dove into reading it. Some of the things Rev. Gulley had to say mirrored things that I’ve read in other progressive Christian books, and some were more unique to his personal perspective. I have to give him credit for being a great storyteller who sucked me right into the book. He also has a talent for boiling issues down to a very understandable narrative, which made for an easy read. He makes several valuable points, with which I agreed and which I think the church as a whole should take to heart and work on in a concerted effort to change the direction we’ve been going for years now. However, there were a few points with which I disagreed or at the very least, wasn’t entirely persuaded to the author’s way of thinking. I believe those things could be taken in a couple of different ways. Either it was a weakness of the book or these aspects simply weren’t the focus of the book, so he didn’t want to get into the weeds trying to explain more fully. In any case, it kept If the Church Were Christian from earning keeper status from me, but at the same time, I did enjoy Rev. Gullley’s writing style and overall appreciated the book. I’ll start first with the downsides I found. The first chapter, “If the Church Were Christian… Jesus Would Be a Model for Living Rather Than an Object of Worship” got the book off to a slightly shaky beginning for me. While I do believe that more emphasis should be placed on following Jesus’s teachings – more practicing of the principles he taught and less orthodoxy – I don’t necessarily believe that precludes us from worshiping him. This is where the author and I differ fairly significantly. Rev. Gulley does not believe in the deity of Christ – and I respect his opinion – but I do. For me, it’s pretty much one of the basic building blocks of my faith. Without that, everything kind of falls apart for me, but I understand that Rev. Gulley, through his research and study of the Bible, has come to a different conclusion. However, for me this feels a little too much like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, or a false dichotomy, if you will. There were a few other places in the book where I felt this same false dichotomy came into play, but the first chapter is where it was most glaring to me. The author mentions that there were political reasons for the deification of Jesus, but he doesn't really elaborate much on what those reasons were. This is one of those weak spots I mentioned. I would have been interested in reading more about this, but perhaps it’s a subject that’s covered in more depth in one of his other books. For right now, though, I'm not prepared to toss out my belief in Jesus’s deity without a great deal further examination, even if it does defy logic (as the author states), because in my mind, believing in something greater than yourself or in things that may not entirely make sense to our human minds is all part of what faith means. Now that I’ve said my piece about that topic, I can honestly say that I didn’t have any further major disagreement with Rev. Gulley. Most of the remainder of the book – which of course, was the bulk of it – made a great deal of sense to me. I agree wholeheartedly that the church should focus more on healing rather than condemning brokenness and value reconciliation over judgment. After all, this is what Jesus did regularly in his ministry. Gracious behavior over right beliefs is another area that the church is not particularly good at, and I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s just human nature to want to be right about things, but if we were being more gracious, perhaps there wouldn’t be a need for nearly 40,000 Christian church denominations, many of which I’m sure formed as a result of hardheaded conviction that there was only one right way to believe, a notion that I reject. I also wish the church was significantly better at allowing its members to question, but alas that hasn’t really been the case in my own experience. In fact, that’s a large part of what attracted me to the church I currently attend. I’ve had many question throughout my spiritual journey and until I started going to the church I’m at, I never felt comfortable voicing those doubts and queries for fear of being criticized for not having enough faith or allowing Satan to poison my mind. Also, until attending my current church, I didn’t feel like there was enough focus on helping those in need. It was more of an occasional thing that was done rather than a way of church living. While I appreciated all of the chapters that covered these topics, the two that stood out to me the most and ended up being my favorites were eight and nine. Chapter 8 is “Peace Would Be More Important Than Power.” The active seeking after political power is what nearly drove me away from the church altogether. Jesus never sought political power, so I simply couldn’t get on board with this type of mindset. Then Chapter 9 is “It Would Care More About Love and Less About Sex.” In recent years, I’ve grown completely weary of the drumbeat of purity culture. I’ve read far too many stories and seen too many lives ruined by the church’s inability to accept human sexuality for what it is. IMHO, God made us sexual beings for a reason and to deny that is to deny an inherent part of us and to say that God made a mistake. I do believe in a certain sexual ethic but absolute purity and the wholesale rejection of the LGBTQ+ community for simply being who God made them to be has gone too far in my estimation. So that’s my take on many of the topics covered in If the Church Were Christian, all of which are just one humble reviewer’s opinion. I did enjoy the book overall, even if some of the things discussed were a bit repetitive when compared against other similar books, and in spite of disagreeing with the author on one major point. As I mentioned before, though, where it stands out is in Rev. Gulley’s ability to tell stories. He successfully demonstrated most of his points quite well through the medium of storytelling, relating both good and bad sides to each issue with real-life examples from his own experiences, making the book very accessible. For that reason alone, I can heartily recommend it to anyone who is seeking a different path in these religiously contentious times, even if it wasn’t a perfect read for me. It was my first book by Philip Gulley, but it has also made me look forward to trying some of his other works, particularly his fictional stories, which I have a strong feeling will be well-written and enjoyable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    When our children were about middle-school age, they and many of their friends began wearing bracelets that had the letters "WWJD" on them, which stood for "What would Jesus do?" If the Church Were Christian is all about what the author believes Jesus would want us and our churches to do. It's a wonderful reminder of the core values Christianity was based upon, stressing the importance of love, service to others, forgiveness, acceptance, and peace. Philip Gulley is not afraid to talk about cont When our children were about middle-school age, they and many of their friends began wearing bracelets that had the letters "WWJD" on them, which stood for "What would Jesus do?" If the Church Were Christian is all about what the author believes Jesus would want us and our churches to do. It's a wonderful reminder of the core values Christianity was based upon, stressing the importance of love, service to others, forgiveness, acceptance, and peace. Philip Gulley is not afraid to talk about controversial subjects. I have to admit that when I started reading this book, I wasn't sure I would like it, because some of what he was saying was very much in opposition to what I've been taught about religion my whole life. But I kept reading, and I'm so glad I did! It made me think about Christianity in ways I hadn't before, and challenged me to search my heart and my life more deeply than I had in some time. If the Church Were Christian is a wonderful book, and I highly recommend it!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alisa Kester

    It's interesting how Gulley picks and chooses from the words of Jesus. Anything he likes becomes the truth. Anything that doesn't fit his viewpoint is discarded. He's an extremely misguided man, and the great pity is, he's misguiding others - even to the point of suggesting people seek out false religions. It's interesting how Gulley picks and chooses from the words of Jesus. Anything he likes becomes the truth. Anything that doesn't fit his viewpoint is discarded. He's an extremely misguided man, and the great pity is, he's misguiding others - even to the point of suggesting people seek out false religions.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rod Horncastle

    Reading this book was as much fun as walking into a china shop with an AK-47 assault riffle. There is sooo much to shoot at...you can't miss! Every paragraph has a error of logic and theology. Philip Gulley can look at the simplest situation and get it backwards. This is no surprise since people like Borg, Claiborne and Diana Butler Bass approved of this heretical nonsense. The disturbing part is that many people on Goodreads gave this book a good rating - is the entire world theologically illit Reading this book was as much fun as walking into a china shop with an AK-47 assault riffle. There is sooo much to shoot at...you can't miss! Every paragraph has a error of logic and theology. Philip Gulley can look at the simplest situation and get it backwards. This is no surprise since people like Borg, Claiborne and Diana Butler Bass approved of this heretical nonsense. The disturbing part is that many people on Goodreads gave this book a good rating - is the entire world theologically illiterate and ready to embrace the Buddha Jesus of liberalism? You bet they are. (I've said this before) I could easily teach a two year college course on everything that is wrong with this book. Apparently i'm not the only one; anyone remember "The Battle For the Bible" by Harold Lindsell? Or "Why Jesus?" By Ravi Zacharias. It's amazing that so many people who claim to be Christians are blindly swallowing unbiblical teachings by Bart Ehrman and other Jesus Seminar thugs. (all in the name of kindness, tolerance and liberalism). Do you recall how Jesus dealt with religious abusers, and those who twisted the scriptures to match their human desires? Phil made it very clear his religion is all about humanity - at the expense of a Jesus who died on the cross for our sin. The book is called "If the Church Were Christian", but most people do not want a Christian church. Philip Gulley certainly doesn't, and he says this clearly throughout the entire book. The only problem is he doesn't understand what Christianity is. He's confused by all things of God. It was quite interesting when he recommended teachings by a Catholic monk who practices Buddhism. Mr. Gulley has no solid core which to establish his belief system on - other than his own interpretation of NICENESS. He even applaudes a few atheists over Christian brothers. How strange is that? I fail to recall anywhere in the Bible where God said he created the human race so he could collect NICE people to hang out with for an eternity. IF God wanted us nice: He would have just made us that way. It's all about Jesus' the king of kings and lord of lords. Nasty quote by Gulley: "Gone also is the clear blueprint for Christian conduct we assumed Matthew, Mark, Luke , and John offered. The Gospel accounts...are the early church's words about Jesus, not necessarily the actual words of Jesus. So to even say "Jesus said this" or "Jesus said that" is to make an assumption that might not be true." And yet Philip goes on to demand we be like Jesus and do what HE SAID throughout the book. Philip, didn't Jesus say a lot about Sin, Judgement, Hell, Salvation, Heaven. Here's a fun thing Jesus said: "Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” John 18:36 Philip proudly boasts "I was told Jesus was born of a virgin...it would be many years before I understood the irrationality of such a claim..." And the weird part is that Philip still loudly proclaims this Jesus as something to follow? Only an idiot would follow a myth about some magical hippy who gave Buddha like advice that was poorly recorded. The other option is: Everything we know about Jesus, in the Bible, is trustworthy and preserved for us by a mighty God of the universe. But Philip doesn't like this idea. He also states how well he has researched this Jesus he abuses: Phil says "I don't pretend to be a Jesus scholar" (page 28) and yet he goes on about how the historic church and thousands of theologians are obviously wrong based on??? Phil's non-scholarly Jesus understandings. So here's his huge contradiction: "I could never be like Jesus. But what I've discovered in the Gospels is the expectation that we could and should be like him." But Phil ---- didn't you say all the Gospels are not trustworthy and Jesus has numerous myths attached to his accounts? Philip spends the whole book belittling people who agree with Jesus. All those people who go and tell people "Go and Sin NO MORE!". I recall a certain Jesus saying that on a few occasions. And yet Phil doesn't tolerate that kind of behavior. I'm curious what exactly SIN is in Philip's world? The God of the Bible was very clear about this sin business. Enough to clearly explain Hell and how it works based on sin. But Phil must have a magic Bible that blacks out any reference to things that aren't in favor of his liberal humanism. Then he loudly declares any church or Christian who speaks as Jesus, Moses, and the Prophets spoke as behaving in a non-christian fashion. Remember that amazing discussion Jesus had: Luke 16 Jesus told the story of Lazarus and the Richman: "so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” If Jesus recommends listening to Moses and the Prophets, then maybe we (and Philip?) should too! Philip even mocks the basic Gospel message. "Far too many churches, and far too many Christians , elevate God at the expense of humanity. For God to be good, we must be sinners in need of redemption." Phil just doesn't get it. Even when Jesus says things like "“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:26 ----Phil's Jesus would never say anything like that. And yet Phil has not given an minutes thought to what Jesus is clearly saying in scripture. Remember that verse: "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners." The Apostle Paul is even against everything Mr. Gulley falsely teaches in this book. John 12:25 Jesus says "Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life." Everything this Quacker (yes, i spelled that correctly) preacher babbles is about loving THIS LIFE. And yet Jesus spoke a very different message. I don't think Phil's Jesus died on the cross, or had any reason to. When there is no sin - there is no need for a savior. And that is what separates our Jesus from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, modern spirituality -and all those other belief systems Phil cherishes more than Biblical Christianity. Phil has a strange quote on page 41: "enough cherry-picking the Bible stories that reinforce negative stereotypes and promoting them as "God's Word" to us. Enough twisting of words, calling bad news GOOD NEWS." That is the Gospel Phil. You really are too stupid and spiritually blind to get that aren't you - and worse, all the people who approve of your published crap. But I recommend every Christian read this - some for laughs, and others to GET THEM OUT OF THE CHURCH. If you want to love and cherish an unbiblical Jesus - please go do it somewhere else. Stop referring to yourself as a Christian. Your Jesus isn't worth worshiping.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I'm writing this immediately after giving the book away for someone else to read so it will lack some details- like the name of my favorite chapter. But I remember telling her- "I just love this man and his writing!" The subtitle of the book is something like "Rediscovering the Values of Jesus" so each chapter reads: 'If the Church were Christian: ... followed by statements like "there would be more reconciliation than judgement; or there would be more acceptance than exclusiveness. Think of any I'm writing this immediately after giving the book away for someone else to read so it will lack some details- like the name of my favorite chapter. But I remember telling her- "I just love this man and his writing!" The subtitle of the book is something like "Rediscovering the Values of Jesus" so each chapter reads: 'If the Church were Christian: ... followed by statements like "there would be more reconciliation than judgement; or there would be more acceptance than exclusiveness. Think of any description of Jesus and what behaviors he seemed to illustrate in his life and parables and the book compares those to what he sees and experiences in the Christian Church today. But the book is also filled with examples of how church, at times and in places, does seem to act like Jesus would and he encourages those who have left church or find it irrelevant to their lives today to seek those places that are most Christian in the true sense of the Word. I am going to find his other books to read now since this one was so positive and inspiring.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Justin Banger

    This book is phenomenal. Easy to digest and quite profound. The chapter titles alone are worth the price of the book. The chapters are: If the church were Christian, Jesus would be a model for living, not an object of worship. If the church were Christian, affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness. If the church were Christian, reconciliation would be valued over judgment. If the church were Christian, gracious behavior would be more important than right belief. I This book is phenomenal. Easy to digest and quite profound. The chapter titles alone are worth the price of the book. The chapters are: If the church were Christian, Jesus would be a model for living, not an object of worship. If the church were Christian, affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness. If the church were Christian, reconciliation would be valued over judgment. If the church were Christian, gracious behavior would be more important than right belief. If the church were Christian, inviting questions would be more important than supplying answers. If the church were Christian, encouraging personal exploration would be more important than communal uniformity. If the church were Christian, meeting needs would be more important than maintaining institutions. If the church were Christian, peace would be more important than power. If the church were Christian, it would care more about love and less about sex. If the church were Christian, this life would be more important than the afterlife

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    This is one provocative little book. Just finished it and had the thought that I better dive into Rob Bell's controversial book "Love Wins" and now I see in the description on GoodReads that Gulley's books will appeal to Rob Bell fans. Gully is a Quaker pastor who normally writes funny, inspirational books ala Garrison Keillor (Lake Wobegon Days). This is a seriously different format and content. Gulley is good at using simple, story-like examples to make his point, but it is his points that will This is one provocative little book. Just finished it and had the thought that I better dive into Rob Bell's controversial book "Love Wins" and now I see in the description on GoodReads that Gulley's books will appeal to Rob Bell fans. Gully is a Quaker pastor who normally writes funny, inspirational books ala Garrison Keillor (Lake Wobegon Days). This is a seriously different format and content. Gulley is good at using simple, story-like examples to make his point, but it is his points that will rile some readers. He admits he regularly draws fire from various religious groups. If you have gotten tired of church in-fighting, poor Christian behaviors, rules or beliefs that don't seem to fit with today's needs, and more, consider reading this. It is both a breath of fresh air and contemplative at the same time.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Snyder

    A book comes along once in a while that really speaks to my heart. This was such a book and Philip Gulley read my heart, mind and soul when he wrote it. If the Church Were Christian posits ten changes that would occur if mainstream churches acted on the message and model of Christ rather than continue to twist and untwist the same rope that organized religion has become. If the Church were really Christian, Jesus would be a model for living rather than an object of worship. We get so hung up on A book comes along once in a while that really speaks to my heart. This was such a book and Philip Gulley read my heart, mind and soul when he wrote it. If the Church Were Christian posits ten changes that would occur if mainstream churches acted on the message and model of Christ rather than continue to twist and untwist the same rope that organized religion has become. If the Church were really Christian, Jesus would be a model for living rather than an object of worship. We get so hung up on mythic details, magical doctrine and irrational dogma we miss the point: it doesn't matter if Jesus was God, what ever that even means; it matters that we model our lives after his: giving to the poor, the sick, the widow, the orphan and the disenfranchised. If the Church were Christian: affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness, reconciliation would be valued over judgement, gracious behavior would be more important than "right" belief, inviting questions would be valued more than supplying answers, encouraging personal exploration would be more important than communal uniformity, meeting needs would be more important than maintaining institutions, peace would be more important than power, the Church would care more about love and less about sex, and this life would be more important than the afterlife. I see the glimmer of this new theology beginning in the words of Desmond Tutu, Pope Francis, John Shelby Spong, Fr. Richard Rohr and at my home church Manassas Prebyterian. In my opinion it is the only way that Christianity can continue to make a meaningful and vital contribution to the 21st century. The old theology of literalizing myth, magical thinking, authoritarian dogma and judging doctrine will give way to a new theology of tolerance, grace, mercy, loving acceptance, and peace...or Christianity simply will become irrelevant and disappear from lack of interest.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stan

    The author has an interesting backstory in that he was raised Roman Catholic but later left the catholic church and joined the Quakers. He has been a Quaker minister for over 20 years. On more than one occasion, he reports, congregants have demanded that he give up his credentials as a minister because of his provocative and outspoken beliefs (not too surprising, since he flatly dismisses the virgin birth as not credible, and tells congregations they should stop spending their money on missionar The author has an interesting backstory in that he was raised Roman Catholic but later left the catholic church and joined the Quakers. He has been a Quaker minister for over 20 years. On more than one occasion, he reports, congregants have demanded that he give up his credentials as a minister because of his provocative and outspoken beliefs (not too surprising, since he flatly dismisses the virgin birth as not credible, and tells congregations they should stop spending their money on missionaries to Africa and send malaria nets instead). His main point is that the organized church is not characterized by following Jesus' teachings and living example. The gist of his arguments can be gleaned from his chapter titles: (If the Church Were Christian) Jesus Would Be a Model for Living Rather Than an Object of Worship, Gracious Behavior Would Be More Important Than Right Belief, It Would Care More About Love and Less About Sex, etc. In this short, quickly read book, he puts into words why today's organized religion seems hollow, hypocritical, and irrelevant to many. He touches on the crucial aspects of tolerance vs. intolerance, rigidity vs. flexibility -- the whole concept of "the one true path to God" -- which may sit at the crux of the matter in America. He argues that Jesus would not have wanted us focusing on traditions, continuing rituals, and holding to arbitrary rules of rightness, but rather caring for and actively serving our fellow human beings. Definitely worth reading for its perspective of the church and to stimulate examination of one's own spirituality.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    If the church were Christian… - Jesus would be a model for living rather than an object of worship - Affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness - Reconciliation would be valued over judgement - Gracious behaviour would be more important than right belief (“Mirroring the compassion of Jesus would be more important than echoing the orthodoxy that has built up around him”) - Inviting questions would be valued more than supplying answers - Encouraging personal explorati If the church were Christian… - Jesus would be a model for living rather than an object of worship - Affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness - Reconciliation would be valued over judgement - Gracious behaviour would be more important than right belief (“Mirroring the compassion of Jesus would be more important than echoing the orthodoxy that has built up around him”) - Inviting questions would be valued more than supplying answers - Encouraging personal exploration would be more important than communal uniformity - Meeting needs would be more important than maintaining institutions - Peace would be more important than power - It would care more about love and less about sex - This life would be more important than the afterlife Potent Quotables: Many in the contemporary church assume Jesus’s identity and nature were immediately apparent, universally agreed upon, and clearly stated, but such is not the case. The issue of Jesus’s nature absorbed much of the church’s attention for nearly 300 years. The Christian gospel ought not be that Jesus was God and we can find life in his death. Our good news is that we can find life in his example: accepting the excluded, healing the sick, strengthening the weak, loving the despised, and challenging the powerful to use their influence redemptively. These objectives do not require divinity but commitment, compassion, and courage. Jesus accomplished what he did not because of some supernatural power unavailable to the rest of us; he accomplished what he did because of his steadfast dedication to the priorities of God. A good number of Bible verses recommend polygamy, an arrangement most people don’t have in mind when they speak in hallowed tones about the “biblical” view of marriage. We tend to root around in scripture until we find a verse that supports our preference, then crown our view the “biblical” one, even when other verses contradict it. Any God who would condemn billions of people to hell because the first couple sampled a bite of fruit seems at the very least eccentric and at worst despotic. When the goal of religion is appeasement, fear escalates, judgment increases, reason and mercy fall by the way, and all manner of absurd solutions arise to placate God. In traditional Christian theology, the solution to God’s theoretical wrath was to satisfy it with the gruesome, cruel death of Jesus, which somehow mollified God, allowing God to forgive and bless us. Jesus never, not once, went to the mat for doctrine. I came to see how the church had used afterlife theology as a bludgeon, wielding it with impunity to bless some and curse others. Always the emphasis was on control: controlling whom God might or might not save, controlling the energies and gifts of others, even controlling what could and could not be thought and taught. I decided not to invest any effort in saving people’s souls from a hell I didn’t believe in. Rather, I would work to expand my understanding of God, deepen my commitment to grace, and uplift the human condition.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Krysten

    Great in spirit but a bit glib and still not radical enough for me. The concept of """tolerance""' is not something I think should be celebrated - it's half a step away from a melee. Inclusion and welcoming and unconditional acceptance are much, much better. And Jesus was way more of a revolutionary than the palatable Jesus presented here. It's a nice book for nice people but doesn't pose all that much of a challenge to the status quo. Great in spirit but a bit glib and still not radical enough for me. The concept of """tolerance""' is not something I think should be celebrated - it's half a step away from a melee. Inclusion and welcoming and unconditional acceptance are much, much better. And Jesus was way more of a revolutionary than the palatable Jesus presented here. It's a nice book for nice people but doesn't pose all that much of a challenge to the status quo.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Meadows

    This book explores the author's views of Jesus and the church. It was interesting, but differs greatly from my own personal views of Jesus and the church. This book explores the author's views of Jesus and the church. It was interesting, but differs greatly from my own personal views of Jesus and the church.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Erika

    Gulley has some good points and I appreciate his perception of Jesus' teachings in this book and how it applies to the church as a global whole. Some of his points were particularly refreshing, such as the tolerance of people to ask questions in faith and to explore. However, the basis of his book is shaky. In the first part of his book, he challenges readers to ponder where we, as Christians, gain our knowledge of Jesus. He nearly disputes the possibility that the Biblical texts that we rely on Gulley has some good points and I appreciate his perception of Jesus' teachings in this book and how it applies to the church as a global whole. Some of his points were particularly refreshing, such as the tolerance of people to ask questions in faith and to explore. However, the basis of his book is shaky. In the first part of his book, he challenges readers to ponder where we, as Christians, gain our knowledge of Jesus. He nearly disputes the possibility that the Biblical texts that we rely on as Holy Word was factual, which, is a valid argument for any Biblical explorer. However, in subsequent chapters, he goes on to prove his points about how a church ought to be based on these Biblical texts. Confused? I was.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sera Gray

    While I don't agree with everything in this book, I found it incredibly thought-provoking. The author tackles many issues in the church that have really struck a chord with me in the past, and have been reasons that I have chosen to take a step back from church and figure some things out for myself. While the areas I disagree with him on are related to theology and specific biblical ideas, I have to give him credit for being so bold as to question things and present alternative view points. Very While I don't agree with everything in this book, I found it incredibly thought-provoking. The author tackles many issues in the church that have really struck a chord with me in the past, and have been reasons that I have chosen to take a step back from church and figure some things out for myself. While the areas I disagree with him on are related to theology and specific biblical ideas, I have to give him credit for being so bold as to question things and present alternative view points. Very good book, especially for anyone who's been jaded by church at any point. On another note, this was a very fast, easy read. I finished it in a day.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Philip Gulley is a Quaker minister who writes a very interesting, readable book drawing on his experiences and examining what it really means to be a Christian. Our church class has been studying this over the past several months and Gulley's analyses have sparked lively discussions. Still, it is a book that a person can gain from reading it alone. Lots of thought-provoking questions. Philip Gulley is a Quaker minister who writes a very interesting, readable book drawing on his experiences and examining what it really means to be a Christian. Our church class has been studying this over the past several months and Gulley's analyses have sparked lively discussions. Still, it is a book that a person can gain from reading it alone. Lots of thought-provoking questions.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I'll say one thing for Gulley. He's not afraid to tell it like it is. And like it is less and less is what the church should be. An interesting read--would make a good group discussion and certainly a book that any person of faith--church goer or not--should read. I'll say one thing for Gulley. He's not afraid to tell it like it is. And like it is less and less is what the church should be. An interesting read--would make a good group discussion and certainly a book that any person of faith--church goer or not--should read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Gulley is gentle, but firm-- and right on about the church. I would hope that good church folks would take his criticisms and his recommendations to heart.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    I think that is was very good and helped to give me a different perspective.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Jiorle

    This book has some very powerful and important messages in it, but I think it would have been better off as an essay or something shorter. It is not a particularly long book to begin with, but much of the first half was fairly repetitive in its message. The author uses dozens of anecdotes to emphasize the general idea that the church is too dogmatic and needs to care more about the real needs of people by being more gracious and inclusive. Again, this is a very powerful message, but it was drawn This book has some very powerful and important messages in it, but I think it would have been better off as an essay or something shorter. It is not a particularly long book to begin with, but much of the first half was fairly repetitive in its message. The author uses dozens of anecdotes to emphasize the general idea that the church is too dogmatic and needs to care more about the real needs of people by being more gracious and inclusive. Again, this is a very powerful message, but it was drawn out over a long stretch of pages. Also, people who hold the Bible in high regard will likely find this book offensive. He criticizes a lot of the mythological stories of the Bible and also makes bold, sweeping statements about things like the writers/people of that time and Jesus's beliefs without making many references or explaining where those conclusions come from. Perhaps the arguments are well-supported, but the support is excluded, probably so as to not clog up his narrative for each chapter. I think some of the ideas in this book are those a lot of people need to hear, but this book felt like a drawn-out way to get them across.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Little House

    Mr. Gulley gave me a lot to think about. Unfortunately, I think that he threw the baby out with the bath water. He seems to believe that Christians must throw out their core beliefs in order to act like Jesus. While there are a lot of things that the "church" could do better, for every bad example that he gave there are Churches that are doing things right. They are loving and serving their communities while still believing the Scriptures. They believe that Jesus was God and was born of a virgin Mr. Gulley gave me a lot to think about. Unfortunately, I think that he threw the baby out with the bath water. He seems to believe that Christians must throw out their core beliefs in order to act like Jesus. While there are a lot of things that the "church" could do better, for every bad example that he gave there are Churches that are doing things right. They are loving and serving their communities while still believing the Scriptures. They believe that Jesus was God and was born of a virgin and are able to act like Jesus. Yes, I too have seen those that don't, but it is not their beliefs that are the problem, but a lack of love and grace. While I don't agree with the author on many (most?) of his main points, he did give me lot to think about. There are areas where I (and those around me) could do better. This book is not for everyone, but for those who already know what they believe (and are willing to read about other views), it is interesting.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pearl Loewen

    This was my first book by Philip Gulley, and I am hooked. It almost makes me want to be a Quaker, and I would welcome Philip Gulley as my pastor in any tradition. I read this book at a vulnerable time when the pull back to conservative evangelical Christianity was strong, and it reminded me of all I have left and don't want to return to. Philip Gulley does not condemn the church, but offers a welcome course correction as an insider, and is a voice needed today. His persistent, curious "what if's This was my first book by Philip Gulley, and I am hooked. It almost makes me want to be a Quaker, and I would welcome Philip Gulley as my pastor in any tradition. I read this book at a vulnerable time when the pull back to conservative evangelical Christianity was strong, and it reminded me of all I have left and don't want to return to. Philip Gulley does not condemn the church, but offers a welcome course correction as an insider, and is a voice needed today. His persistent, curious "what if's...?" have challenged my thinking and re-inspired me to be not a Christian, but a Jesus follower.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Gulley was raised Catholic and ended up a Quaker pastor. That makes for some interesting stories and insights. This is a quick read. Nicely organized, friendly style, and edited in a way that by the end you sorta feel like you know the author. The author says we ultimately choose love or the law. On the way, he takes some stands that will make conservative Catholics and Protestants wince a little. But it's OK to rattle cages. As Gulley points out, institutions tend to prioritize their own surviv Gulley was raised Catholic and ended up a Quaker pastor. That makes for some interesting stories and insights. This is a quick read. Nicely organized, friendly style, and edited in a way that by the end you sorta feel like you know the author. The author says we ultimately choose love or the law. On the way, he takes some stands that will make conservative Catholics and Protestants wince a little. But it's OK to rattle cages. As Gulley points out, institutions tend to prioritize their own survival over everything else.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Another thought-provoking book by Philip Gulley. You don't have to be a Quaker, as the author is, to ask yourself, or your church, the questions he poses, e.g., "If the church were Christian, affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness,"...peace would be more important than power," and "...inviting questions would be valued more than supplying answers." Gulley challenges the reader to review his/her own values vis a vis Jesus' teaching re: values. Another thought-provoking book by Philip Gulley. You don't have to be a Quaker, as the author is, to ask yourself, or your church, the questions he poses, e.g., "If the church were Christian, affirming our potential would be more important than condemning our brokenness,"...peace would be more important than power," and "...inviting questions would be valued more than supplying answers." Gulley challenges the reader to review his/her own values vis a vis Jesus' teaching re: values.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    To quote a friend, "We love and hate, baptize and banish, proselytize and ostracize, accept and reject, bear and share and lift and add to the burdens of others....if there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things and if they can be monetized, we do that too." Thank you K. Puzey for these thoughts because they helped encapsulate what this book is about. To quote a friend, "We love and hate, baptize and banish, proselytize and ostracize, accept and reject, bear and share and lift and add to the burdens of others....if there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things and if they can be monetized, we do that too." Thank you K. Puzey for these thoughts because they helped encapsulate what this book is about.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dave Rogg

    I'm not going to rate this book because I didn't finish it. I didn't finish it because his beliefs are strongly opposed to my beliefs. I am open to other people's views and often learn from them. However, after reading things like "Whether or not Jesus was sinless remains unknown to me and, quite honestly, is of little importance." and "While I question the divinity of Jesus..." I chose not to finish the book. I'm not going to rate this book because I didn't finish it. I didn't finish it because his beliefs are strongly opposed to my beliefs. I am open to other people's views and often learn from them. However, after reading things like "Whether or not Jesus was sinless remains unknown to me and, quite honestly, is of little importance." and "While I question the divinity of Jesus..." I chose not to finish the book.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.