Monday, November 8, 2010

On Deadly Detours

Other than the Bible, Bob Briner’s Roaring Lambs is probably the single book that has most influenced my thinking. Yesterday, I finally picked up another book of his, Deadly Detours: Seven Noble Causes That Keep Christians from Changing the World, which I was thrilled to find at our local library’s used book sale.

Deadly Detours is nearly as good as Roaring Lambs, and it serves as a sort of counterpoint to Briner’s earlier book. Roaring Lambs tells the church what we should be doing to be salt and light in our culture. Deadly Detours tells us what we should not be doing.

I wish that I – and about a million more American Christians – had read this book when it first came out fifteen years ago. Maybe if we had heard the message and taken it to heart, we wouldn’t have wasted so much of our time and resources on side issues. Of course, we the church are still on the deadly detours Briner wrote about in 1995 – pining for the “good old days” when there was prayer in school; marrying faith and politics; fighting against “the homosexual agenda;” publicly bickering over comparatively minor doctrinal issues; funding Christian television as a substitute for personal, local evangelism; denouncing the lack of “family values” among those outside the church while ignoring the problems of divorce and extramarital sex within the church; and (the one that was hardest for me to read, as I have been personally guilty of it) attacking abortion with ineffective political protests. We in 2010 still need to, as Briner says, focus on the “first things of the gospel” and find more effective ways to tell the world “who Jesus is and why He came.”

Roaring Lambs and Deadly Detours are short books (especially the latter) and easy to read. They are written for laypeople, not academics, and yet they are filled with important ideas we need to apply. If you are a Christian and you haven’t read these books, do so.