Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Heretics Guide to Eternity ~ A Review (part 1)

A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity ~ A review (part 1)

When I first received this email I was about to delete it as I did not recognize the name… (Sorry Mike). But then I saw the  and thought I might look at it anyway. My jaw about hit the floor as I read it and even then thought it might be a joke… LOL!

Dear Iggy,

Hello!  This is Mike Morrell, editor with  I wanted to drop you a line today because yours is a blog we keep an eye on.  Spencer Burke (the founder of The Ooze) and Barry Taylor (musician and Fuller Seminary professor) have just written a book that I think you’ll be interested in:  A Heretic’s Guide To Eternity.  We’d like to send you a free limited edition press run copy for review.  Would you be interested?

Here’s what Heretic’s Guide is about in a nutshell:  Following Jesus outside of religion.  What does it mean to be truly connected with God?  Can this happen outside of traditional religious boundaries?  Do our dogmatic views as to who’s “in” and “out” of God’s habitat have more to do with our prejudices and less to do with Holy Writ and divine compassion?  These are the kinds of things explored in the book that Brian McLaren describes as “far better than either beer or religion.”

Curious?  Then let me send a copy to you, on us.  The book is yours, and all we ask is that you blog about it sometime in the next several weeks.  You don’t have to agree with Spencer and Barry’s controversial trajectories on life and spirituality—we just want your honest take. 

If you’d like a copy of A Heretic’s Guide to Eternity, just email me back with your name and street mailing address (I’m sending the books out UPS—not PO boxes please).  That’s it.

Thanks so much,

Mike Morrell

PS:  For more about the book, check this out: 

So, I replied and sent my mailing address.  I was still a bit skeptical and figured, “we’ll see when or if it gets here”. I then saw that Steven Shields had some critics that Scot McKnight had written on the book… I tried my best to not read; though I do admit what I did read, worried me a bit.

Now, some of my readers would most probably think, “iggy should know a lot about the topic of being a heretic, he should relate to that book!” LOL! And that might be true.

The word heretic is thrown around Christian circles like a “four letter word” on a construction zone. Funny thing is to me, that some of the most influential people in our faith were “heretics”, from Martin Luther, to Guttenberg and his bible, to recent people like Brian McLaren, to Jesus Himself. So it would seem that to be a heretic may not always be a “bad” thing in and of itself.

Brian McLaren does a nice write up in the foreword of the book, and that may in and of itself be reason to pick up the book (if not buy it) and read what he has to say about “heretics”… the best thought to me was in using “heretic in the title:

“Maybe the risk they are taking won’t be worth it, as scores of serious, concerned people try to take the logs out of the author’s eyes unaware that they might even have a tiny metal shaving in their own. But maybe their risk will pay off – especially if some people do more than react to the scandalous title and actually read this book and realize, not what’s so wrong with heresy (which is obvious to almost everybody), but what’s so often wrong with religion, including “our” religion (which ever that might be).

The serious and concerned religious folks who would be most prone to attack Spencer and Barry for their title should, perhaps, realize that they are doing them a great favor, an act of courage and charity. They are showing those religious folks what about them is turning off and driving away millions of people… often including their own children and grand children. Those being turned off won’t tell them these things because… because they’ve tried it in the past and the results weren’t good. Instead, they just keep their distance and try to be polite, even though they’re usually somewhere between disappointed and disgusted and terrified.”

I am very excited to have been asked to review this book I hope that I am truly up to the task and ask for prayer and wisdom to critic it fairly, and to represent sound doctrine while being open to new ideas.



spencer said...


I hope a variety of people read and review the book for themselves. The power of the Internet is the power of each voice. We no longer need to wait for the "officials" to deem a book worthy of our consideration. We have sent the book out to a wide range of bloggers and the response is just as broad. My hope is that along with the Theologians and Professionals opinions we will also hear the voices of people like you and Sarah (http;// It is the power of each voice that gives me hope for the Church, whether we agree with them or not. The book is more of a Big Picture book than a doctrine for the future. I look forward to your thoughts in the coming days...

iggy said...


It is an honor to be asked to review your book.

I am looking foreward to diving in... and giving you my thoughts.