Last month I posted a WILDCARD tour of the book Christianish by Mark Steele and published a link to the first chapter. Since then I've had time to read through the book and I wanted to add some more information. Below I've also added a press release that provides more information about the book. This is a really important book for Christians to read. The cover poses a question that ought to scare us to our core -- what if we're not really following Jesus at all?
Through an authentic search of himself, Mark investigates the difference between being a good Christian and being a follower of Christ. At the end of each chapter he asks soul-searching questions that help the reader determine if he or she has perhaps fallen for our culture of Christianish-ness instead of Jesus-ness. For instance, do I become like people I deem my-kind-of-godly instead of becoming like Jesus? Do I pursue Christian success instead of pursuing Christ? Do I take scripture out of context to defend a pattern of life that I want to justify? Is there sin that I don't address in my life because it makes life in society 'work better'? Do I just focus on major sin? What would unconditional, Jesus-reflecting love truly look like in our modern culture? In my daily life and community?
To be honest, I'm not sure how to answer many of these questions, and this book is one that I can't just read and forget. I've read several chapters over and over before moving to the next. It includes some really difficult concepts that are in reality very simple -- you just follow Jesus and all else will fall in place. However, our entire society seems to be established so that we will be good Christians. Following Jesus, truly following Jesus, is frowned upon. In fact, that is how you will know that you are successful!
I challenge you to read and implement the concepts in this book. What a revolution we would see!
You can purchase the book here
Press Release About the Book: Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX—Modern evangelicalism has lost its balance. A lukewarm spirituality, somewhere between cold faith and hot pursuit, has taken hold and found many believers in the median between the wide path and the narrow road of the spiritual walk. The efforts of many have become more centered on how to cope with their own dysfunctional lives, and less concentrated on what it really means to follow Jesus. It’s something not quite Christian. It’s more like…Christianish.
In his new book, Christianish: What if We’re Not Really Following Jesus at All? (David C Cook, August 2009), author Mark Steele tells the story of his own personal journey from living in the “in-between” to a life that’s centered on Christ. “Somewhere along the road, I stopped being a ‘little Christ’ and instead began filling out the application that I had labeled ‘Christian.’ It was not a definition based on the actual namesake but, rather, on those who frequent the clubhouse. I allowed Jesus to seep into my church world—but not my relational world, my romance world, my business world, my creative world, my habits, my mouth. I had become Christianish.”
Christianish may feel like authentic faith. It may even look like the real deal. Yet it’s often easy to settle for the souvenir t-shirt—the appearance of a transformed heart—instead of taking the actual trip through true life-change. We find ourselves being contented with a personal faith that’s been polluted by culture and diluted by other people’s take on spirituality.
In Christianish, Mark revisits the words and life of Christ to find just what it means to be a Christian. Through stories and insights that are sometimes profound, often hilarious, and always honest, he delivers a compelling look at what authentic faith is all about. While carefully detailing the tell tale symptoms of being Christianish, Mark encourages readers to ditch the “ish” to become true Christ-followers.
“We have trained ourselves to cope well on a Christianish path: a path where we please the right godly people and don’t feel the guilt when our failings are seen by the world at large. But this is not the approach to Jesus that we were created to take. There is only one way for us to discover the right way to travel the right road. The way is not church. The way is not an ideology. The way is not Christian. The way is Jesus.”
Mark Steele is the president and executive creative of Steelehouse Productions, a group that creates art for business and ministry through the mediums of film, stage, and animation. He is also the author of Flashbang: How I Got Over Myself and Half-Life/Die Already and is a regular contributor to Collide Magazine and Relevant Magazine. Mark and his wife, Kaysie, reside in Oklahoma with their three greatest productions: Morgan, Jackson, and Charlie.