“Dirty Faith” by David Nowell is the most convicting book I’ve read in a long time. My concern is that it is so convicting, that rather than respond to the message, readers will run from it. From topics like “mercenary” Christianity (hiring out professionals to do the job instead of getting our own hands dirty) to the idea that the church has become “proud, sensuous, selfish, luxurious and hollow-hearted” in its prosperity, it’s fair to say that this book makes for some tough reading.
The basic premise is that as Christians we’ve lost the main idea, and that is that we should be actively, personally showing love to “the least of these” (as opposed to throwing money at our local church building, our “professional Christians” and our myriad ‘churchy’ activities- or, to just doing nothing at all). In this author’s view, “the least of these” are the thousands of children around the world who are orphaned, impoverished, imprisoned and destitute. There are more self-professed Christians in the world than there are of these children, and if the world’s self-professed Christians actually acted personally to feed the poor, care for the sick, visit those in prison, and provide for the orphan, than the world would be a profoundly different place. You can’t really argue that, can you? The message is right, but the presentation may be too brutal and too extreme for many American readers (and that probably proves the point that American Christianity has got issues).
Basically, any excuse you might be tempted to offer for why you aren’t actively getting your hands dirty in service to others- particularly children- whether foster parenting, or supporting the foster parents in your community, or as a church being focused on any of the host of problems facing impoverished people-particularly children- outside America, is going to be called just that- an excuse. And I guarantee you’re going to feel blasted to pieces for your excuses. I know I did. And if that totally turns you away from what David Nowell has to say, that’s too bad…because the message is so relevant and so vital. The author is right- there’s a lot wrong with the way we “do” church in America and it is more than time that we start practicing dirty faith. I’m just warning you, you’re going to have to be ready and willing to convicted, to be a solution-finder, a problem solver, and a changed person willing to live life differently if you dare to open this book. Otherwise, it’s probably just going to make you feel bad…or mad…or both. Probably both.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.