Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus In The Mess Of Organized Religion – new blog, web site and book launching in September

November 30, 2012 — 11 Comments

Adventures in Churchland - Finding Jesus In The Mess Of Organzied Religion

This Fall the new book I have written “Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus In The Mess Of Organized Religion” will be launching with a web site, new blog and various resources available for the book.

If you are coming to this blog, this Fall it will be totally redesigned with videos about the book, downloadable discussion guides, church leader teaching outlines and some other things on it. I will also begin regularly blogging again at that time here.

You can read a sample chapter and see the Table of Contents and foreword that Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Queen of Rockabilly – Wanda Jackson wrote for the book there by clicking the title of the book here which takes you to Amazon and you can then look at the “look inside” feature for the book:  Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus in the Mess of Organized Religion

Why I wrote this book….

I wrote Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus In The Mess of Organized Religion because there are many Christians who feel that we are often misrepresented by the most vocal and negative examples among us. We see this showing in opinion polls like this one which made national news last week. We desire to see this changed and instead to be known as being the kind of Christians and churches that Jesus desired us to be. I wrote this book to help us all respond to some of the most often raised criticisms, such as:

  • Christianity is an “organized religion” and not what Jesus intended.
  • The church is often known as such a judgmental presence in the world today – is that what Jesus really taught?

I also wrote this book to give hope to those who may feel like a misfit in the church and Christian sub-culture. This book is a little more vulnerable and personal for me than my other books, as I share some of my story in this book from the time when I wasn’t a Christian and not interested in church while I was playing drums in a punk and rockabilly band. In a somewhat ironic twist, my life’s trajectory began to change when our band was living in London, England and I met an elderly group of Christians in a tiny church there. As a result, I ended up becoming a Christian and eventually became a pastor. But it wasn’t an easy transition. My entry into the evangelical church world was full of strange and even quite unpleasant experiences which I write about, some of which you may also relate to.

In the midst of all the oddness of the Christian subculture, however, I discovered that the more I read about Jesus, the more I understood his love and mission for the church. I began to explore how even in its messiness, the church is still a central part of Jesus’ vision for those who follow him. Jesus loves the church, and it is very important to him. That’s why there are so many today who aren’t giving up on the church, but we are joining together to “be the church” and make change where needed, instead of merely “going to church”.

In this book, you will then:

  • learn what the Bible says about “organized religion” and how to process and respond to the criticisms that claim Christianity is one.
  • learn what we can do to stop the church from being known as so judgmental and what Jesus actually said about “judging” others. (Contrary to what you might normally hear on this topic, Christians may actually need to judge each other more in order to stop Christians from being known as judgmental.)
  • learn the massive difference between “going to church” and “being the church.” Without understanding this difference and what “church” really is, you may never get past a stale form of organized religion and a passive and routine kind of Christianity.
  • be encouraged to know you are not alone if you are feeling like a misfit in the church, or if you’re not even able to imagine yourself becoming part of it. People like Johnny Cash, Wanda Jackson, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis show us that being a Christian doesn’t mean you have to become part of an odd sub-culture or not think rationally or intelligently or lose your creativity.

I believe in Jesus. I believe in the church. And although at times I have wanted to give up on it, I haven’t because Jesus hasn’t. We may have to make some changes and I hope this book encourages you to be part of the change taking part in the church and in Christianity today. For Christians this means that we have the joy of serving the world around us representing Jesus with love, grace, intelligence, innovation and creativity.

If you aren’t a Christian, I hope this book explains some of the reasons the Christian church sometimes sends confusing and off-putting messages. I was right where you are, but I did become a Christian and part of a church, and my life has never been the same. I can’t ever imagine having more joy, peace and purpose than I have now following Jesus and being part of his sometimes messy, often strange, and certainly not-perfect church.

Until this Fall when the web site and this blog re-launches, I am on Facebook at and posting and interacting there.

Thank you for reading this long blog post!

Dan Kimball

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author of "Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus In The Mess of Organized Religion" and "They Like Jesus But Not The Church" . On staff at Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA.
  • L.W. Dickel

    And then Jesus came upon his disciples and said, “Brethren, what’s this I heareth about me being a human sacrifice for your sins? May I asketh, Who in the goddamn hell came up with that Neanderthal bullshit!!!?
    Blood sacrifice!!!??? Are you all fucking insane!!?
    What are we, living in the goddamn Stone Age!!!??
    Listen brethren, you can taketh that ridiculous, pathetic, immoral, vile, wicked, evil, sadistic pile of Cro-Magnon donkey shit and shoveth it straight up thy fucking asses!!”–Jesus H. Christ, the Thinking Mans Gospel

  • Dan Kimball

    L.W. – throughout history, people have said some of the same things you just wrote and it is understandable to hold the opinion you expressed. I used to think much of what you wrote which is what caused me to look into Christianity as well as other world faiths to determine their origins, beliefs…. As I was researching and studying and the origins of the Bible and Ancient Near East history, it is what began changing my opinion and as I began reading and studying the New Testament and outflow it is of the Hebrew Bible and began reading Jesus teaching, my opinions then changed. We aren’t living in the “Stone Age” as you mention…. and the good news is we have so many tools and a plethora of scholarly research it makes it a wonderful time to be testing and trying to discern the claims of Jesus and the biblical story for today.
    I understand some of the terminology you used about it, I don’t think I ever had the angst that you seem to express. But I would actually call it a faith that one can intelligently approach. Or you would have to dismiss scholars like J.R.R. Tolkien who obviously studied mythology as a professor at Oxford and as an author creating his own world with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, was a strong Christian and did believe it to be true. If you read his bio or C.S. Lewis’s you find it was Tolkien who was a major part of convincing C.S. Lewis (author of the Chronicles of Narnia and fellow Oxford professor) that Christianity was true and C.S. Lewis became a Christian. Sounds like you aren’t in a place to want to explore further, but C.S. Lewis wrote a book called “Mere Christianity” which explains from a rational perspective why he ended up believing and becoming a Christian. There is Francis Collins, the well known physician-geneticist, noted for his discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project who is a passionate Christian. Many others who do believe and aren’t living in the Stone Age today and have likely had the same thoughts you have (I did) but have found when exploring the whole of the Bible and Jesus’ teachings we leaner the fuller story and have faith and our lives changed as a result.
    I do thank you for taking the time to express your view here, and I obviously disagree but thank you for letting me know your thoughts. That’s the freedom and joy we have to be able to express various opinions, so thank you.

  • Non

    Can you summarize in a few paragraphs how your group differs from and/or relates to the Orthodox Church? Seems that if you want to “go back” to the ancient Faith the obvious solution is to become Orthodox. Several thousand evangelicals did that some years ago including hundreds in the Santa Cruz region (St Lawrence in Felton is a community descended from that group – their bookstore is a cornucopia of literature on ancient Chrsitianity) – their journey is described in the book Becoming Orthodox by Peter Gilquist in some detail. I am struggling to see how making it up as you go is a viable model or even likely to get much right in terms of theology or worship.

  • Dan Kimball

    Hi Non!
    (I hope that is you name?, that’s what it says there on your comment).
    I have actually been to Sts. Peter & Paul Orthodox Church in Ben Lomond (and I heard about the birthing of the church in Felton etc. I visited there after the new one started). But when I was there they did give me a copy of Becoming Orthodox by Peter Gilquist. Fascinating read! So I am familiar with that story from the book and talking to one of the church leaders when I visited that time.
    With differences between evangelical and “Orthodox” churches, much has been written. If it’s helpful I can point to some web sites if you would like to read more. As a church, we strive to go back to the very beginning and roots of the church in the New Testament to read and study as much as we are able to know about what the early church practiced and as understanding various doctrines of faith developed. So our basis for what we believe and do as a church stems from the earliest sources available. And we are a church who believes in the major doctrines of faith over the course of 2,000 years of church history (Nicene Creed, Apostles Creed etc.) and would theologically be in alignment with the Lausanne Covenant (a multi-denominational, global statement of faith which includes the major doctrines of faith).
    Anyway, hope that is what you are asking! Thank you for the comment!

  • Non

    Thank you for your reply. I guess I was assuming if you are following the earliest Christian teachings and the major doctrines of the early Church, by definition you couldn’t be evangelical in the American sense. If I read you correctly, you are saying you are following modern evangelical teachings but trying to align with practices and/or creeds from the early Church? Not judging that, just trying to understand.

  • DanKimball

    Hi again Non!
    All the evangelicals I know believe in the Apostle’s Creed and Nicene Creed. Do you feel those are not in alignment with evangelical belief? Thanks again for you comment!

  • L.W. Dickel

    There are brilliant people-physicists, biologists, philosophers, etc.- who believe just as firmly that the Muslim faith is true or that the Hindu faith is true, or the Mormon faith, etc.,etc. What exactly does that prove? Nothing, of course.
    It is rather astonishing that even highly educated people can allow themselves to be brainwashed by absurd ancient myths.
    So your listing of other deluded believers like C.S. Lewis or Tolkien is pointless.
    The central tenets of Christianity are patently absurd, inane, irrational and unbelievable by anyone who allows actual objective critical thought to enter their mind.
    Blood sacrifice, which is foundational to Christianity, is without a doubt the single most irrational, evil, wicked, absurd, insipid, outrageous bunch of Cro-Magnon-level lunacy that the human mind has ever concocted in our entire history on planet earth.
    You probably would view other ancient cultures who practiced human and animal sacrifices to be ignorant savages who were too primitive and unlearned to know any better that to practice such lunacy. Well, your religious doctrines are no less absurd and no less savage.

  • Non

    Very few evangelical organizations identify explicitly with the Nicene Creed – pick 10 and more often than not they will have their own “statement of faith.” Most of these would be categorically rejected by the Bishops of the early Church. But then again, they have no Bishops and we know the Apostolic teaching was to do nothing apart from the Bishop as he was the icon of Christ in the midst of the Eucharistic gathering (ie the Church).
    In the rare case where you have the creed appearing it is likely to include the Filioque. And the creed presupposes a Trinitarian understanding usually absent from evangelical circles (“one God in three persons” – whatever that may mean it is not the patristic or Scriptural teaching); moreover later formula (Eg Chalcedon) clearly reflect the original (and Scriptural!) doctrine of redemption alien to almost all evangelical organizations. So cherry picking creeds and formulas and asserting some kind of closeness with the early Church really seems like a stretch.
    Anyway I was guessing their might be something deeper going on here – we are seeing for example the emergence of self-consciously Reformed Catholics for example. Whatever their flaws there is at least an attempt at coherence.

  • donsands

    I suppose I shouldn’t say anything to such a fool, and such a dark and reprobate mind, but I think as long as Dan desires others to see this filth, then perhaps it’s good to address your absurd and stupid words.
    How about if you retrack your words even now. And may God have mercy on your soul.

  • margaret

    Hoping you had a Merry Christmas!

  • SuperStar

    Love the new blog. Can’t wait to see all the videos.