I can tell you this: We love Jesus deeply. We read the Bible and pray with our kids every morning. Our lives our centered around serving people through our church, Vintage Fellowship. We have given up every kind of security and wrestled with God for this faith. We are on a journey with him that has taken us in a direction we would never have guessed, and in my case, I'm pretty sure I initially wouldn't have wanted to go. The story of this course-change is Fundamorphosis.
Curiously, the words and chapters of Fundamorphosis would have been totally different if I had written it, even though I was part of most everything that happens in it. I would have told different stories that changed my heart and mind. But the change still took place. And that is what we are learning about how people are left after reading the book....that there is something common about the change. That they find themselves in the stories. That they are finding words to express what is happening inside of them. That's why Brian McClaren said it "could be the start of a movement." And another reviewer said that "the butterfly might be the new symbol of Christianity for a generation." Uh. Hey, we're just regular people here. Seriously, a movement?
There have been times over the years when I have asked pretty relentless questions of Robb.
It's not about the external changes....those things that make people from our old lives uncomfortable. The reasons that they say they won't read the book. Those are just a by-product of what has changed in the way we understand God and the way we are in relationship with him. For a long time, I thought we were a very small group of people who saw things this way. I thought of our church as a little haven for a small niche of people who have been deeply wounded by their churches or who just need a big theological yard to play in. What I am starting to understand is that, like Robb writes, we are all theologians on some level. That we are all on a journey with God and that we all need the space to grow and change in that journey. Unfortunately, many of the churches available to people don't allow for this journey. They don't allow for growth and change. And they don't allow for questions....only answers. Fundamentalism has become a hindrance to people's journey...like trying to take a long, exhilarating walk on a circular driveway.
"Seriously. Tell me the truth. Did we just walk away from everything we know so we can wear jeans to church and have a band?"
It goes without saying that if your faith in God has suffered in a fundamentalist church environment, you might want to read Fundamorphosis. It will likely encourage you that you are not alone. That your questions matter. That God is gentle with your doubts. That there are other ways of living a vibrant Christian life than the way your pastor has delivered it from a high and lofty pulpit above you. If Facebook Christianity leaves a bad taste in your mouth, if "God said it, I believe it, that settles it" leaves you feeling ashamed and deeply unsettled, if you are tired of feeling afraid of the future of America and marching as an embattled member of God's army, Fundamorphosis may be meaningful to you. I won't promise anything, but you might want to try it.
But I also want to suggest Fundamorphosis to those of you who watch Fox news every day, listen to Christian radio, attend a "Bible Believing church", and sincerely pray that the world become the same kind of Christian as you. You can't imagine how a real Christian could vote Democrat. Your conscience would never allow you to drink a beer at dinner or casually use an expletive. You fear for your children in such a dark and godless world. You are vigilantly involved in your church and deeply immersed in the rhythms of your traditions. I want you to know that Robb is not trying to change your mind. Fundamorphosis is not an appeal to be just like us. It is a story, an explanation, of what it is like to be here. What it is like to ask the questions and to live with the consequences of what you believe. You may not agree, but maybe it will help you understand your child who is gay. Or your co-workers who just got another tatoo. Or the people who are leaving your church and never coming back. Or the people who would never come there in the first place. Robb and I have been there. We have a deep love and hope for you and your faith journey too.