Item description for Not the Religious Type: Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist by Dave Schmelzer...
Overview Pastor Schmelzer pens a witty, reverent, and engaging story of his surprising spiritual journey, which may serve as a guidepost for those who don't consider themselves "religious" but who may be closer to God than they think.
Publishers Description As an atheist, Dave Schmelzer never thought of himself as the religious type--and he still doesn't, even though he now believes in God and leads a large Boston church in the shadow of some of the nation's most impressive universities. Religion is usually about rules and codes, about "being good," about what will get you embraced and what will get you shunned. But God, according to Dave, is all about how you can become a closer friend with him, with others, and with yourself.In the tradition of C. S. Lewis's "Mere Christianity" and G. K. Chesterton's "Orthodoxy" comes this illuminating collection of thoughts on faith in a postmodern world. "Not the Religious Type" bridges the gap between the two communities in which many of us live--the secular and the religious--and suggests a new, unexpected way of seeing the world and our place in it. Whether we're the religious type or not, there's a certain part of each of us that invariably wonders if it's true--if there's a God we can connect with who is alive and active, with the kind of perspective on our lives and futures that we could never have on our own. As Dave engagingly explores these most important questions, he invites his readers into "a new and warmer spring," a way of thinking that will help both secularists who never imagined they would become people of faith and also people of faith who perhaps haven't experienced all from God that they've hoped.
From Publishers Weekly The title of this book is misleading since it characterizes the author, pastor of a Boston-area Pentecostal church, as an ex-atheist. But as Schmelzer recounts in the book, his atheism was a teen phase, and adolescent explorations are generally not cited on one's intellectual rsum. The title also sets the reader up to expect some apologetic rejoinder to trendy bestselling polemical atheists. This book, however, is much broader (and better) than that, and almost antipolemical. Schmelzer has a disarmingly low-key way with words, a refreshing change from the fighting terms so often employed in battles over religious truth . His self-deprecating tone is persuasive even while he makes bold statements about the power of faith. He asserts, for example, that prayer can bring about physical healing, a statement he backs with evidence from his own family and a few other instances. Yet he's honest enough to admit he has no answer to the question of why God permits suffering. Schmelzer's mild-mannered theological humility is winning. (July) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Citations And Professional Reviews Not the Religious Type: Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist by Dave Schmelzer has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Publishers Weekly - 05/12/2008 page 52
Library Journal - 10/15/2008 page 75
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.7" Width: 5.1" Height: 0.8" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Jul 1, 2008
Publisher Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN 141431583X ISBN13 9781414315836
Reviews - What do customers think about Not the Religious Type: Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist?
Quick, interesting read May 2, 2010
A valuable collection of experiences from this guy's life, rather than a re-hashing of the same standard apologetical arguments for Jesus.
Fantastic Read May 1, 2010
This was a the right book at the right time. The author articulates things that I have been feeling for a long time. I now better understand the journey of faith that I have been on. Things make a little more sense to me.
Great Read! Oct 15, 2009
Schmelzer has done a great job as a writer to challenge the reader's thinking without burying him/her in excessive verbage nor simplistic "how to" steps. His interaction with Peck's stages really sets the scene for this, and is carried out throughout the book. Beyond the written text, he is seeing it work on a pragmatic level in a genuine community of faith. A must read for me and my friends...that's why I've given them copies.
Part memoir, Part Apologetic Jul 17, 2009
IT IS PROBABLY TOO MUCH to say that I like Dave Schmelzer, based simply on having read his short memoir, Not the Religious Type: Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist. I don't think it's too ambitious, though, to at least say this: I'd be surprised if I met him and didn't like him.
Here is a book that is part memoir, part apologetic, and which never seems to over-do either. In this quick and pleasant read, Schmelzer shares his spiritual journey and presents life with God as a kind of adventure.
He makes the case that truth is relational rather than simply abstract or propositional (Personally, I think it is both). He explains why we are better off entering into a relationship with God and others as part of a Christ-centered life journey (rather than a group/my team/us-and-them existence).
He also makes the bald statement "God is good. Religion is bad." At first I found it, I suppose, kind of annoying. The more I thought about it though, I saw his point. It is a view shared by prominent Orthodox Christian thinkers such as the (late) Rev. Fr. Alexander Schmemman (For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy*) and the Rev. Fr. Thomas Hopko (in many of his lectures). I agree that although Christianity may be characterized as a 'religion' in certain contexts and discussions, it is above all a "Way." (Acts 18:26; 24:22).
Eastern Christians will appreciate this book in that it reminds us to keep union with God in Christ as our paramount aim in life. It also holds a unique value to those who serve in "ethnic" churches. While cognizant of the need to serve the needs of those coming from a particular cultural milieu, we are warned not to be snagged by cultural trappings.
And he is a good writer. Having earned his undergrad degree in English from Stanford, Dave has a way with (few) words. He is mercifully stingy with his words and generous with his ideas. He has masterfully combined the fields of memoir and apologetics (he makes some powerful, succinct observations on the 'new atheist' movement).
While I think he and I would probably disagree on some points of theology and ecclesiology, I liked the book overall. I heartily recommend this work for pastors, college-student ministers, and as a gift for the skeptic in the cubicle next door. __________ *Schmemman writes, "Christianity, with its message offering fullness of life, has contributed more than anything else to the liberation of man from the fears and pessimism of religion...
"Christianity quarrels with religion and secularism not because they offer 'insufficient help,' but precisely because they 'suffice,' because they 'satisfy' the needs of men. If the purpose of Christianity were to take away from man the fear of death, to reconcile him with death, there would be no need for Christianity, for other religions have done this, indeed, better than Christianity. And secularism is about the produce men who will gladly and corporately die-and not just live-for the triumph of the cause, whatever it may be...
"Christianity is not a reconciliation with death. It is the revelation of death, and it reveals death because it is the revelation of Life. Christ is this Life. And only if Christ is Life is death what Christianity proclaims it to be, namely the enemy to be destroyed, not a mystery to be explained." (pp.98, 99)
A Refreshing Look at the Dynamics of Faith and Culture Jul 17, 2009
I came to this book after a few months of reading the posts and conversations at the blog launched in conjunction with the book - [..] . I had found the ideas on the blog very thought provoking and helpful in my own wrestling with faith and culture.
The title of the book struck me as if it were going to be something of a book on apologetics. I'm fine with books on apologetics but so often those books, while articulating clear reasons for belief, do very little redemptive or helpful beyond that. Thankfully this was not one of those kinds of books!
There seems to be 2 prominent views these days on faith and culture. One version sees the surrounding culture as something that must be pulled away from, that the culture itself is an evil and corrupting force and is the arch enemy of those of faith. This view fails to take into account its own cultural baggage. The other view in our world these days sees the culture as something which Christians must very much engage or at least account for in Church. While this view of church has shown some promise it has also very much had its pitfalls as some have sought so much to be culturally relevant that they have lost the very distinctive of what being a Christ-Follower is all about.
Enter Dave Schmelzer... Schmelzer makes the case very convincingly that each of us has cultural baggage, Christian, secular or otherwise, that can be detrimental to following Jesus, but that rather than fighting over issues of one culture over and against another he argues simply for the experience of God wherever a person may be. The way Schmezer sees it is that God wants us to experience him and that each time we do it validates our journey towards Christ. This argument isn't just some abstract argument that Schmelzer came up with but is rather drawn from his own story of journeying from atheism to faith in Jesus. The ramifications are that Christ followers need not spend a whole lot of time arguing with people over beliefs but simply trying to help others to experience God wherever they are. This is a very simple idea but profoundly helpful in my own wrestling with the dynamics of faith and culture.
In Not the Religious Type Schmelzer has articulated ideas on faith and culture that I have felt for a long time but have never quite been able to put into words. This book is a very relevant contribution to current discussion of faith and culture in our world which of late has seemed to deteriorate into constant fighting over beliefs and boundaries.
Not the Religious Type is written in a way that feels as much like a conversation as reading a book (which also makes for a quick read). I hope that more folks get a hold of this book because no matter where a person may find his/herself in their journey or culture, I believe that this book will help them begin moving towards Jesus.