Benjamin Corey and I grew up in very similar environments. The difference between us is that he had his evangelical fundamentalist paradigm turned upside down while in seminary, while it didn't happen to me until I was a few years older. Corey begins his book with this statement:
As Christians in America, we're often lulled into the false belief somehow we have a monopoly
on the pure and undiluted version of the message of Jesus. Unfortunately, we don't. Christianity
by nature has a tendency to blend in and become obscured by the cultural influences that surround it ---such has been the case for nearly 2,000 years of Christian history.
Our experience is no different.
He then proceeds to tell how his world was turned upside by what he calls the undiluted message of Jesus.
Corey's premise is that Christianity as we know it is not what it was meant to be in the beginning. He makes the case that we have watered down the message of Jesus into something that fits our lifestyle, our economics, our politics and our personal comfort. In each chapter we find an area where our version of Christianity has lessened the original message and how going to back to what Corey calls the undiluted message of Jesus changed his life.
This is not an easy book to read. As the author states, "In doing so (recovering the undiluted message of Jesus), you might experience a few deaths." How many deaths will depend on how tied to cultural Christianity one may be. I found myself challenged to think about where I wasn't simply following Jesus, and reaffirmed in ways I had already left diluted ways of thinking behind.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to take a good hard look at what they believe and why. Some may not like what Corey has written. Some may even dismiss him as another one of those "liberals." I have found through the years that it is best not to dismiss things out of hand, but rather to see what is there that is worth keeping and depending on the Spirit to guide me. You may not agree with everything in this book, but there is much there that is worth keeping. At the very least, Corey will make you think. And that's good.