Hugh Halter (author of The Tangible Kingdom and AND) has written a new book called Sacrilege (you can find all these titles here). Most of the books in the Leadership Network series are written specifically for church leaders, but Sacrilege (published by Baker, and part of the Shapevine Missional series) will appeal to a much broader audience. In fact, Hugh forwarded an email to me that I am excepting below, describing what Sacrilege is all about.
Today marks the opening bell for the release of my latest book called Sacrilege. On blogs, articles, and other public comments, I try to avoid any “self promotion,” but on this one, I’m going to take the risk because I believe it will be of immense help if you are a Christian leader or unpaid saint. If you know me personally, you’ve probably heard me say that I hate to write…but even more, I feel incredible frustration and pain over the state of the church and what may happen to our story of faith if things keep going the way they are. Behind this, is a father’s heart and hope that someday my own children will be inspired enough by the Gospel of Jesus to give their lives for Him. This concern has led me to write a book that transcends the issue of CHURCH, and which centers the conversation at the systemic issue that every leader, every pastor, and every Christian must understand.
This issue? “How are Christians to live in the World?” Said, more theologically… “What does it mean to live an incarnational life?’ Said, more practically…”What does it mean to become like Jesus?”
Yes, I know that the predominant conversation for church leaders has been about being “missional” but that simply means to be “Sent.” But if you’re sent or you go on mission or you have a missional church but your people don’t know what to do, how to do it, or how to be a sent agent of Christ, it will be a bad dream!
This is why Sacrilege could make a difference.
Sacrilege is about the Incarnational life of Jesus. In it, I expose Jesus as the least religious person you would have ever met, and show how his non-churchy ways and his absolute sacrilege with the scriptures, the Sabbath, sin, sinners, and a host of other kingpin issues, were exactly why people were drawn to him. But the book isn’t about Jesus. It’s about us.
If Jesus said, “Go and make disciples,” we must conclude, he meant, “Go and develop people into my likeness…make them like I was.” Thus, Sacrilege is my attempt to reframe what it means to be a disciple or apprentice of Jesus’ counter-culture Gospel.
Sacrilege is a walk through the Beatitudes as a grid for Kingdom living and each chapter should begin to erode away some long held beliefs that have made us very ‘unlike,’ Jesus. Yes, there are some pretty hard challenges and you may even find that you’re afraid for your people to really live out what I’m suggesting. You may even find that you have to think through long held practices of Christian leadership.
But as honest and as heartfelt as I can say it, I believe most Evangelicals and Mainline Christians have no clue what true incarnational life looks or feels like and until they get it, our churches, and your church will continue to fail the harvest, including your own children.
Why do I think Sacrilege can make sense out of the mundane Christian paradigm? Because it made sense to my own daughter. This message sent to my church community on Facebook last week.
“So today I went to Starbucks with 3 of my girlfriends and dedicated myself to reading my Dad's latest book, Sacrilege. After just finishing the introduction and the first chapter, I'm already feeling a stronger connection to Jesus. Lately my life has had some pretty rough patches and I haven't been able to be my normal happy, lovin self. At this point I feel so happy and I feel as though maybe things are starting to look up, and I'm finding faith in God to lead me to bigger and better things. I just want to thank my Dad for the amazing life he has blessed me with and allowing me to find Jesus on my own, and I truly believe I have. I love you Dad and I hope you have a safe trip. I'll be praying for you.
How to Use Sacrilege?
The Tangible Kingdom and And..The Gathered and Scattered Church are both leadership books, but the TK Primer, and Barefoot Primer, and Sacrilege are all resources geared to helping normal people live incarnationally and in community.
If your church is a long way down the road of processing missionality, if you’re a church planter, or have a pretty savvy group of Christians, I’d have them all read Sacrilege as a preparation for missional community and cultural engagement. Many folks have used our TK Primer, and Sacrilege would be a great pre-read or after TK Primer experience. We do have a simple “free download” study guide available that you can get on our Missio site. (www.missio.us)
Also, Sacrilege would be a perfect book to give to friends that have had some church background but who have tapped out.
If you’ve already taken your small group or missional community through the TK Primer experience, Sacrilege would be a great read for your people as an ongoing discussion about incarnational life.
If you’re church or small group is a bit more traditional, I’d suggest you only give it to your stout-hearted, missionary minded folks. The concepts may be a bit tough on those whose faith has been centered around the church.
As you consider your own life and faithfulness to Jesus, I pray you’ll become a sacrilegious disciple too!
I have just started reading it myself, but I am encouraged by what I've read so far, and would encourage you to pick up a copy, read it, and share it with a friend. Here's a short video introducing the book.
Don't miss Hugh Halter next Thursday, Nov. 10 during connectLIVE – a free online event. Pre-register & learn more at connectlive2011.tv