©picture by scribbles (Marye McKenney)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Joy of the Gospel: Evangelii Gaudium

First: I am Baptist, by birth, by belief, and by practice. But I want to say that I am interested in any writing that will lead me closer to God. Every day, I ride my stationary bicycle, read my Bible, read some Christian literature, and read some fiction. I do this for fitness and for a daily quiet time. I've been watching the Pope because of friends I have who are Catholic and I wanted to know what he had to say about the condition of today's church. With the exception of parts of the last chapter, I had to agree with almost everything the Pope had to say in The Joy of the Gospel.

Some of the things that have stuck with me in reading the book are:

1. The confessional is not a torture chamber, but it is to be a place where penitents experience the grace of God.

2. The church needs to get down to the level of the people they want to reach and bring them up. We need to reach their needs and then touch their souls.

3. The church needs to reach out, to stop insulating themselves from the rest of the world. Jesus told us to be IN the world, just not OF the world and there is a great difference between them.
I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security. I do not want a church . . . ends by being caught up in a web of obsessions and procedures.

4. The ultimulte goal of the church is to introduce to the people the salvation that only Christ can give. My brother told me once that the church exists to point people to Christ--that is its only raison d'etre--either to point people to Christ's salvation or to point people to Christ as the only model for which we pattern our lives after.

I will not give this book my usual ratings, it seems too trite. But I will say this book is worth every star of the five stars I will post on Amazon.

My thanks to Blogging for Books for allowing me to read and review this book.

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