I want to recommend today a book by my friend Mike Gehring who is pastor of Main Street UMC, Kernersville, NC. He's the author of numerous books including The Oxbridge Evangelist about C.S. Lewis. Mike actually led a presentation on this book at St. Luke's some years ago.
Coming out of the pandemic Mike wrote a book called Losing Church: The Decline, the Pandemic, and Social and Political Storms. It is somewhat autobiographical, somewhat prophetic, somewhat theological, and all of it reflective. What seems like another read that heaps on the discouraging realities of the church is actually an invitation to rethink what it means to be church in the needs of our time. As comedian Lenny Bruce once said, "every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God."
In somewhat similar wit, Mike makes the same point wondering if the challenges of our times, and strife within the institutional church, have awakened our real need: faith in God? I appreciate the book because Mike speaks transparently about what these last years have been like for a pastor. But his questions and reflections come as one looking for genuine connection with the Divine and hope for our world. As Dr. Vergel Lattimore, president of Hood Theological Seminary, says, "I view Losing Church as an assessment tool which prods the reader to self-inventory on allegiance to the vision and vitality of the church."
I recommend it to you!