Have you ever had a naughty thought? Or course you have. Have you ever wished that someone could see your naughty thought? Probably not. Have you ever thought Naughty Thoughts about the church? Huh? Naughty thoughts about the church? That doesn't make sense.
But that is exactly what the book I just received from the Speakeasy blog program is encouraging and all about. Naughty thoughts about the church. The book is in fact entitled "Thinking Naughty Thoughts: on church and why I think we need to change" by Johan Van Der Merwe.
The author proceeds to walk the reader through 7 chapters of Naughty thoughts about such ideas and concepts as "do I need to belong to a local church", tithing, church buildings, sermons, and worship.
I have to say my first take when I received the book was one of disappointment, at least from the look of the book itself. You could tell that this book was self published. The type on the page was reminiscent of a typewriter page. Not graphics, no color, nothing. For those who have an eye for graphics and design, this might even cause someone to not even read the book. I noticed it, it bothered me a little but I still plunged into the world of naughty thoughts about church.
Most of the "naughty thoughts" didn't really offend, or bother me. Some of the thoughts were things that I have thought about, looked into, studied, and wrestled with. And so in a way, his naughty thoughts weren't all that naughty to me.
I think my one complaint about the book is best summed up by the title of the last chapter "Here I stand". It seems like, at least from my vantage point, (and it could be totally wrong) is that the author is caught up in western individualistic thinking when it comes to all of these thoughts. Especially in relation to being a part of a faith community/church. He said he "doesn't go to church" anymore, and I'm okay with that (as you can't really go to church anyway) but I wonder if he regular meets with a group of followers of Jesus to worship, pray, share, build community, and be a blessing in the world? If he does meet regularly with other followers of Jesus than great. I did like his definition of church "The church is a people sharing a common life and a common mission modeled on the example and empowered by the Spirit of Christ"
So other than the challenges of the design and the seemingly individualistic look at faith, I would say that it was overall a good read. Not great, but good. And if you are comfortable with having some naughty thoughts, than feel free to pick this book up. If you'd rather not have naughty thoughts, followed by naughty questions, than I would not pick this book up.