Banned book at church

Bill and I have been attending a small church for the last 9 months or so. Small churches typically don’t drown their members’ schedules in lots of programs and meetings and busywork. This congregation is especially sparse, programming-wise. Besides Sunday services and a wee youth group, there was some kind of once-a-month women’s meeting that did…something, but I have no idea what, and a women’s Bible study that met this spring to explore the book of James. (Let the reader note – I didn’t participate in either of those women’s “ministry” offerings.)

I was surprised to get an e-mail note to the women of the church that read:
Ladies Book Club
Book Choice: The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Instructions: Please purchase/borrow the book, before the start of the first session please read
the Forward, The introduction and the first two chapters.
For the second session please read chapters 3 – 6, the following session read two chapters.
This will be an open forum to express your views and feelings on the book, and gain insight from everyone attending. I hope it will be a fun and interesting time! This group is open to all of the women (of the church) & whom ever they wish to invite.

(If you’re unfamiliar with Oprah’s most recent fave book, author, pastor and professor Donald Whitney has a fair and non-hysterical review here. )

I give the context for the invitation to spend some of my summer evenings with the ideas found in The Secret and the women of this troubled church because this has left me in the unpleasant position of Bad Cop, questioning both the “why” of this book choice as well as asking whether the elders at this church reviewed the book before giving the OK to the woman who initiated this book group. (Aw, come on. You already know what the answer is.)

If there was a sense that this church was interested in exploring the intersection of Biblical truth and pop culture, I might have fewer questions and different concerns. But I have seen no evidence of this in the kind of teaching the church proffers on Sunday mornings, the kinds of outreach (none) the church does, or the kinds of things the women typically discuss amongst themselves. I am trying to figure out what itch The Secret scratches for the women of this church, and why they’re willing to spend time with this book instead of something that might spark some spiritual growth among them. I am also realizing that the trust issues (old scars) I have when it comes to church leadership have been scraped open a bit with the announcement of this book group.

How funny that I, a writer who reads widely in my areas of passion as well as a reader who encourages others to read books and blogs with which they’ll be challenged or even disagree in order to shape their hearts and minds would become Bad Cop when it comes to a book group.

BUT its not just a book group. It’s a book group AT CHURCH. If I wanted to learn about The Secret, I’d watch Oprah or go to a discussion group at Barnes and Noble. But I don’t.

I want Jesus….

What do you think about this? Am I wrong in my concerns? If so, why?

* * * * * * *

And just to lighten my mood on this depressing topic, I’m posting a picture of 3-1/2 year-old grandson Gabriel.

See? I feel better already.


"Childishness, Richard. I keep telling you to try grow up."

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