Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Not The Religious Type by Dave Schmelzer


Okay, let's be honest with one another, shall we? Anyone who's been a reader here at My Bookshelf any length of time knows that normally, a book with the above title would have me run screaming into the night, "Stay away! Stay away!"

However, I'm learning a few things along this journey of reading and of faith--and one of them is to never say no to a book for review.

I never know just how God's going to blow my mind through the words written by someone else. And that's just what He's done by sending me (via Tyndale:-) a little book titled "Not the Religious Type: Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist" by Dave Schmelzer.

I hesitate to label this one. It's part biography, part Christian living, part challenging and part uncomfortable. Quite a feat for such a small book (yay for short chapters as well!).

Dave shares his story of coming to faith in Jesus in a real and engaging style. His candid sharing appeals to anyone who is thinking at all about God or who He is, as well as to those who've met the Almighty and have a relationship with Him. That's one thing I like about him.

Dave also shares stories from people he's pastored and people he's met on his life journey, and gives some practical advice on figuring out this thing called faith that strikes a chord in my soul. His book is worth reading if only for the things he shares on pages 136-146. That's another thing I like about him.

His book challenges me as well. It's so easy to think, after being a Christian for over 30 years, that I've got it all figured out. God is so kind as to always blow my mind on a regular basis, just to keep me humble and on the same page He's on. Quite often, He uses authors such as Dave Schmelzer to do just that. Another reason I'm liking Dave.

But this book also left me uncomfortable. There's a movement in Christian literature and teaching that pushes the belief that we cannot really 'know' anything for sure. We can be 'pretty certain', but there is no certainty at all...and does it really matter anyway? Well, yes, it does matter a great deal!

After all, I'm banking my eternity on knowing I'm redeemed by Christ's blood and resurrection! And if God lied to me about one thing in Scripture, then how can I know any of it is true?

Do NOT misunderstand me!!! Dave does NOT promote that system of doubt. But he does question Truth with a capital 'T'. Something that we can examine, know all about, grasp fully, and tame. And that makes me uncomfortable.


What Dave has reminded me of is this: Truth, with a capital 'T', is Jesus, plain and simple. I will never master Him, tame Him, control Him, fully grasp Him...nor grow tired of Him. And as long as I am pursuing Him...this Truth personified in Jesus Himself...

...then that's a good thing. Just one more reason I like Dave:-)

So, while I squirmed a bit and questioned a lot and pondered more than I thought I would...I come away from this book thankful and grateful that Dave Schmelzer put his thoughts down on paper and called it "Not the Religious Type" for me to read. I'm giving it five out of five bookmarks, with a light-up cross as a charm.

Read the chapter titled "I'm Not a Jerk (I May, However, Be A Fool)" and you'll understand why.

Happy Reading!


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