Larry Crabb

Joe's #8: Real Church By Larry Crabb

It’s not that this book is bad, it’s just isn’t what it could be. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth through much of the book—and that might be the genius. I resonated with much of what the author had to say early on in the book. I loved how he talked about his former “Catholic phobia.” I stood up and clapped (literally) when he stated, “I’m not persuaded that experiencing God sensually and knowing God compellingly are the same thing.” But then he went and did it again. He complains about churches that don’t equip their people to “experience God” (whatever that means) and he then complains about the churches that do. As others who have reviewed the book have noted, he seems almost schizophrenic.

But maybe that’s the magic in this book. Or maybe it’s the danger. I love Crabb’s writings. I have almost all of his books. Many are marked up and highlighted but even I have to admit that Crabb has always been writing on the edge of his formed thought. One year, we need counseling, the next we just need to find the safest place on earth (ironically he insinuates in that book that it is the church).

For a while, I put this book down and walked away for a long time. Those issues were my own. This book sat on my shelf like a spurned friend’s advice. Ultimately, when I came back to it chapter 23 was there waiting for me. It has five thoughts that brought it all around for me, along with the postscript.

Crabb’s writing is raw, and honest. Maybe that should be enough.