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Publishers WeeklySpencer, who blogged as the Internet Monk until his untimely death earlier this year, offers a harsh assessment of institutional Christianity-"churchianity." He speaks to the millions who, according to surveys, have changed religions or left them altogether. He takes special aim at evangelical megachurches and prosperity gospel preachers, though he also doesn't spare those who link Jesus to the flag or sociopolitical causes. None of this, he insists, has anything to do with Jesus, who was Jewish (not American), hung out with people others rejected, and made disciples instead of buildings. He advocates "Jesus-shaped spirituality," which can be found in service and scripture and, most important, won't necessarily make you smile, because it can be hard to practice. Like so many critics of the current state of institutional Christianity, Spencer is a lot better at describing the problem than solving it; his indictment gets a little repetitious at times. But his tone is folksy and passionate without ranting. The book is his last word, and stands as the sincere testament of a Christian humble enough to admit and even embrace his flaws.
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