More Real [Book Review]

Earlier this year, Jon Brown – one of the leaders at New Community Church, Sidcup – published his book “MORE REAL – Embracing the Authentic Life God Created You For”. If you haven’t read it yet, then I’d love to recommend it to you. Although it’s part of a series of books published by IVP, I found it hugely helpful as a stand-alone book, and I’m sure that you would too.

Jon asks the question: If Jesus promised us ‘life and life to the full’, then why do so many people walk away from faith? This is therefore a vital book when it comes to understanding people’s doubts and the reasons why people suddenly disappear from our congregations. Jon is raw and honest about his own periods of doubting faith, so I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to take the exhortation seriously in Jude 22 for us to“Be merciful to those who doubt.” Jon’s book has certainly helped me to pastor those who have doubts much more sensitively.

Jon asks whether one of the reasons why people walk away from faith is that we have inadvertently turned Christianity into a charade in which we mask our weakness, hide our disappointment and run away from vulnerability. I think we need to hear his loving challenge that the Way of Jesus was always meant to be the exact opposite of that. Jon points out that our churches tend to attract those who appear to have things ‘sorted’ more than they attract the weak and the marginalised. I think he’s right, and that his teaching about raw authenticity offers some of the answer to this – not just for those who end up leaving our churches, but for those who stay and who could be discipled far more deeply.

Jon writes as a millennial and he recognises that much of the Church’s response to the questions he raises has been shaped by those who are not millennials. Again, I think he’s right about this and that he has some vital things for us to hear. “More Real” may not make for comfortable reading in places, but I recommend it to you wholeheartedly. It’s a superb book that I’d love for all of us to read.