Book blogging has turned into an interesting hobby. I started writing about what I was chosing to read, and then got into writing reviews of books being promoted by various entities. The first group from whom I got books, and still my biggist supplier, is First Wildcard, which promotes Christian, primarily Evangelical Protestant, books, though they have had a couple of Catholic titles. I hooked up with them because I was reading a lot of Christian fiction and they were offering free review copies. Around that time I read somewhere that close to 40% of the readers of Christian fiction are Catholic; yet walk into any Catholic bookstore and the fiction section is either non-existant or very small. Anyway, back to book reviewing. I find that my choice in reading material has changed somewhat due to my book reviewing hobby. I've gotten on the mailing lists of publishers, publicists and other folks who promote books. Rather than walking into a bookstore or library full of choices, and having to decide on a reasonable number of books; rather than browsing through Amazon to find "the" perfect book, now, I'm offered one book at a time on a "take it or leave it" basis. The email offering me that book has my total attention when I'm reading it, and I know the only risk is that my giveaway stack will have a book I hate in it rather than just books I like. It makes it easy to take a chance of something I'd never select (or even notice) in the bookstore or library.
I'm reading a book like that now, A Lover's Quarrel with the Evangelical Church. Clicking the link will take you to the publicist's page on the book and give you a good idea of the content. In short, a card-carrying Evangelical Protestant writes about what he sees as the problems with modern-day Evangelical Protestantism.
For the record, in case anyone hasn't read my blog before and didn't look at the fine print at the top; I'm Catholic, and I'm on the law-abiding somewhat conservative side of the Catholic church. I believe that the teachings of the Catholic church are tru, that God has kept His promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church and that while we certainly have had our share of sinners in positions of authority, the teachings of the Church were are are true.
Even given my Catholicism, I've seen things I admire in Evanglical Protestant churches, things I have wished my parish or the wider Church would adopt. I admire the outreach--the summer Bible schools, the bus rides to church, the youth programs open to all, not just those who are registered, the Sunday School classes for all ages, the ministries for moms, the elderly, those with substance abuse issues and more--they are not only given a meeting place but are also invited to join and become part of the church. I admire the sense of fellowship I see fostered. You can attend many Catholic parishes for years and never really meet people. I've been in my parish for over twenty years and if I started going elsewhere next week, I wonder if anyone would care, and I doubt anyone from the staff would try to learn why.
I'm hesitant to say what I see that I don't like simply because I don't like it when people who don't really "get" Catholicism say critical things about it. I don't want to say something like "one thing I don't like about Evangelical Protestants is the way many worship the moon" (which by the way I know isn't true), because as an outsider my view of their actions and motives may tell me something very different than what is intended. Suffice to say that for me, the bottom line is that I believe the Catholic church teaches the truth and therefore any Christians not in complete unity with the Catholic church don't possess the total truth. Given that, even if I like everything about the Evangelical church down the street, that lack of truth means I won't join. I was curious however, about what an insider considers to be the deficiencies in the modern Evangelical churches.