So last night I finally finished a book that I have been reading for about a month and half now. It isn’t that the book is particularly long or that I am a slow reader (although I might be on the slow side), it is because the book is packed full of practical application and requires much thought. The book is Tangible Kingdom by Hugh Halter with some help from Matt Smay.
It is the story of how Halter went from being disillusioned with the modern church to feeling like he is truly apart of spreading the Kingdom of God. It really doesn’t matter where you stand theologically, this book is pretty dead on, both in how the Church has lost its way and in how it should start to head back on mission.
I know I spent a few years feeling very cynical towards Christians and the Church, and although those years are behind me (with relapses every now and then) and I have become a member of the a church that I love, I still often feel like I am not living my life like Jesus, and I am not advancing the Kingdom, and I feel lost as to where to start or what that should look like. In this book, Halter, while not claiming to have a monopoly on the idea of what the church should look like exactly, makes pretty good arguments and points toward a route that churches can (and probably should) follow. The hardest point to swallow, which doesn’t make it any less true, is that the modern church is more about serving its members than advancing the kingdom. This was really convicting to me.
I have definitely been a religious consumer and not necessarily a Jesus follower, in the strictest sense, most of my life. And most often when I get cynical or annoyed, there I things I can do about it myself, but I often want someone else to lead the way. I felt really challenged to stop looking for the church to provide the things that its not really supposed to provide. Most of the things I am looking for should come from following Jesus, and being apart of a community of believers is apart of that, but also living out my faith in the world, and advancing the Kingdom, making it tangible to those who do not know it, is a big part of it as well. You can’t have one without the other.
Things I really like:
Halter refers to non-believers as sojourners. Its as if once you belong to God you always have, so he strays away from there being a defining salvation moment, and its more of a process of following Jesus. Everyone is at their own pace. I really like that.
The book is really practical. I can’t say that enough. He tells tons of stories and gives great examples and challenges. He doesn’t pretend to know it all and doesn’t expect everything to work for everyone.
Things I wasn’t a fan of:
Most of his stories had to do with himself. Its good to see a man doing a good job of living the Kingdom out, but sometimes I felt like he was patting himself on the back, especially the last section, where he describes a day in the life of himself.
I didn’t like the questions at the end of each chapter, but that is probably a picky, personal preference.
Check it out. No matter where you are in your spiritual life I think it is applicable and encouraging. Who knows, it might just be the challenge you need to grow deeper in your faith.