DEFINITIVELY ANSWERING Philip Yancey "Church: Why Bother?"

All references from Philip Yancey "Church: Why Bother?" (Zondervan:1998)

"A religion of externals is easy to cast aside." p.19 Christianity is such a religion so I easily cast it aside. You are fed lies continually and have to do all sorts of mental gymnastics in order to remain within the fold.

"They talked about Grace but lived the law: they spoke of love but showed signs of hate." p.19 There are a handful of decent people in Christianity but they are very few and the vast majority live the law and exhibit hatred. The biggest form of hatred is towards other Christians who they deem "not true Christians" and "heretics". They are the Christians working for change within Christianity to reform it. (I think it is a lost cause to do so.) The next biggest form of hatred is towards homosexuals and Moslems. Without those three groups they wouldn't have anything else to gossip about at "fellowship" after church.

"Christianity kept me from church."p. 19 Christians drove me from Christianity.

"Far fewer people attend church on Sunday that claim to follow Christ: some of them have stories similar to mine: they feel burned or even betrayed by a former church experience. Others simply 'get nothing out of church''." p. 20 I was held own and assaulted by a pastor and elder as a church member thug repeatedly punched me in the face. My crime? I dared to ask for an apology because they had stated that AIDS was made by the World Health Organisation and my brother was Australia's W.H.O. representative, a world-famous AIDS researcher and dying from AIDS at the time. What Christian love! I have been the victim of repeated fundamentalist abusive speech since I joined Christianity in 1972 beginning with being told, as a rock musician, that rock music was of the Devil and that I was demon possessed because I liked it. I haven't had one week without abuse by a fundamentalist Christian since that date. My treatment at the hands of Christians is a contributing factor to my Post Traumatic Stress disorder. Selah - pause and think about it. After my first brush with death in 1980 I began to get less and less interested in church. Church is extremely boring. You sing "Jesus is my boyfriend" Jesus jingles, get lectured to in a sermoan and pay for the privilege. What a fun way to spend a Sunday!

"The longer you stay away from church the stranger it seems." p. 22 Amen! "If we missed a Sunday, we felt a void." p. 23 It's called "detox". You can tell when you are addicted to church because you need your weekly fix otherwise you get the jitters. Take the test. Skip church for a month and see what happens.

"Annie Dillard once described her church this way: ... the lagging emptiness and dilution of the liturgy, the horrifying vacuity of the sermon, and ... the fog of dreary senseless pervading the whole."p. 22 That sums it up nicely! Remember that you are also paying tithes (10% of your gross income) as well as offering and "love gifts" for this torture in the name of Jesus.

"Christianity is not a purely intellectual, internal faith. It can only be lived in community."p. 23 That is utter bullshit and religious propaganda without any foundation! It is trotted out by pious pastors time and time again because without people filling their pews there is no reason for them as pastors. Pastor is an interesting word. It is a leader of sheep. Make your own conclusion. Christianity can most definitely only be a personal faith with privately held beliefs without ever stepping foot ion a church. Jesus only gave two commandments that are central to Christianity - love God and your fellow human. neither requires your participation in a church. Abraham had no church. Abraham still knew God, loved God and loved his fellow humans. Nothing has changed. The two greatest commandments of Jesus are also about orthopraxy (right action) and not orthodoxy (right belief). There is no right belief. Thousands of denominations prove that. God is love and if you follow God then you love in action. Applies to all religions without fail.

"Some people - those who live in small towns, for instance - have few options of churches to attend." p.24 Change that top MOST people in Australia where there are few major cities, sparsely populated. Living in rural Australia means that you ONLY have fundamentalist churches to choose from if you are a Protestant.

"I used to approach church with the spirit of a discriminating consumer." p.24. You're paying your tithes, offerings and love gifts so why wouldn't you want to be a discriminating consumer. That is only logical and rational.

"the talent deficit I encounter in various churches."p. 25 My local area has 9% of people with a degree or higher. (Sydney has 27%) That means I'm in that 9%. The more educated you are the less likely you are to be a church member. That means that the churches in my area have less than 9% of people with degrees or higher. That means that the sermon is always dumbed down even more than usually.

"Church exists primarily ... to worship God; if it fails in that, it fails."p. 25 Church indeed fails in that basic requirement. You can go through a whole service and never hear God (Yahweh ) mentioned. All you hear is about a dead Jewish peasant called Jesus that they somehow think is the infinite One God without any proof. you also hear "the Lord"spoke about. You never know which Lord this is: LORD God (Yahweh) who Jesus commanded us to worship in the greatest commandment, God the Father (Yahweh) or Lord Satan. Since Christians don't know who to worship then church fails in worshipping God. For years as a Christian ( even as a Christian musician) I never sang hymns and choruses that were addressed to Jesus. How can a dead Jew do anything for you? Impossible.

"homeless people ... sometimes these visitors would stretch themselves out on th pews and snore loudly through the morning service."p. 29 "senior citizens who are liable to drift off to sleep if the preacher drones on too long. "p. 31 I wish I had had the guts to do it. Sound a much more productive way of being in church.

"Welcome to the Body of Christ" p. 39. Not so much a body but a monster of Frankenstein. Distorted grotesque features, blind in one eye, deaf, farting, facial ticks, balding, reeking body odour, beer belly, amputated arm, limping, missing teeth, bad breath. One leg kicking the other leg. Mouth biting the stump of an arm. That's church.

"The church, as Eugene Peterson has observed, is composed of equal parts mystery and mess."p. 45 Eugene Peterson got it wrong. It's a mystery why the church is in such a mess. It's composed of equal parts of bullshit and horseshit. Or one could say composed entirely of shit.

"Mr Ponce. provided for me a comforting male presence. "p. 54 I'm tempted to laugh out loud and comment on the name but .....

"I like to think of church as one of those Emergi-Centres"p. 55 ... long waits, bored to death, room full of contagious infected people, rude staff, utterly ignored - unless you complain about your treatment. Then you're kicked out.

"When I think about the history of the Christian church ...: the Inquisition, Crusades, racial pogroms, abuse of wealth." pp. 56-57. Just add abuse of members to the list and the same thing still goes on. "racial pogroms' are just called "concern over the Islamic take-over of our nation".

"a loving community like a church"p. 57 In 39 years as a Christian I have never visited one church completely full of loving people. There is always at least one hate-filled fundamentalist somewhere in the mob waiting to grill you to see if you are a "true Christian" or not.

"The church is a place where we can bring our pain" p. 59. Correction - church is a place that causes pain to many people. That may be because many church members are pains in the arse.

"churches that are run more like a business than a family." 63. Churches are run more like dysfunctional families.

"The church is God's neighbourhood bar".p. 67 If Jesus were alive he would be found at the bar and not in church.

Those were the only worthwhile passages in the whole book of 100 pages. Probably cost you $30 or more in your local Christian bookstore. Not worth a cent. Not worth your while reading. It is typical of most dumbed-down paperbacks available in Christian bookstores. This one is just a long advertisement to get you to return to church. It won't work on me.