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Dan Kimball is a one of the leading conference speakers on the Emerging Churches in America, a Pastor at Vintage Faith in Santa Cruz, a writer on the Emerging Churches, and a blogger.

They Like Jesus But Not The Church is the first piece in a three part project on the Emerging Generations and their responses to their conception of church culture. Included in this series is a follow up book by Kimball, I Like Jesus But Not The Church, and a video curriculum forthcoming by Zondervan. In my opinion Kimball is one of the better writers representative of the Emerging Churches in America: he’s clearer than most in what he says; his insights come from both pastoring an Emerging Church in a very pomo kinda town, Santa Cruz, and in spending at least two days a week with non-churched Emerging people who like Jesus but not the Church; he’s been a player in the Emerging Churches conversation for a very long time; and he’s gifted academically – I believe he’s started or preparing to start PhD work at Fuller Theological Seminary.

So why do I think you should read Kimball’s book? FYI I’m not alone on this one, Scot McKnight suggested it as a must read for pastors. The books value comes from the faith journey of the one who wrote it and the testimonies of those he interviewed for it. Kimball’s book is by and large not his words, but rather the words of un-churched Emerging people who are voicing their reasons for not wanting to associate with the Church. While its pretty clear in scripture that you can’t love Christ apart from loving your brothers and sisters in the faith, what these people are sharing needs to be heard by many of us. In my mind its a way for us to be kept ‘honest’ about our special little social encleaves called Sunday morning.

I’m sure, as I found as well, that you will find many of Kimball’s answers to these people to not be the way you would respond to them. Again the value of this work is the lives and testimonies involved. But regardless of whether or not you agree with Kimball’s answers you ought to be challenged by the context in which he’s laboring and ask yourself an honest question – am I engaging these same issues with people face-to-face, what are my answers to these people’s testimony?

Kimball’s book is one portrait of the Emerging Generations, a more Indy/artistic pomo sort of one and there are many others not included in his piece, still its one I think you can’t do without listening to thoughtfully because there are people like these living with you every day…