Foreword by Tony Campolo

   Sacred cows make great hamburgers. John Fischer understands that and in this book does a job on some of the sacred cows that have been idols for many of us — those cultural idiosyncrasies which often hinder our growth and development as Christians. He wants us to escape from a host of trivial pursuits which often absorb our attention and energies so that we have little to give to the weightier concerns of the Christian faith.

   In this book, John lets us know that he believes much goes on in the name of religion which focuses on petty pieties while ignoring the biblical urgency "to love justice, do mercy and walk humbly" with our God and with our brothers and sisters. In an effort to get us out of such a bind, he takes us on a trip through a variety of personal experiences in which he struggled to rid his faith of cultural accretions. In each vignette about his life, he provides us with graphic evidence of how a person growing up in the context of an evangelical church and a good Christian family might have to struggle and even be somewhat deviant in order to have a faith that makes sense and has the marks of personal ownership.

   I can identify with John's struggles because in many ways they have been my own. When I became a Christian, the leaders of my church told me that "the world" would try to destroy my commitment to Christ by pressuring me to conform to its sinful ways. What I found was just the opposite. The kids at my high school put very little pressure on me to conform. At our school there was a general consensus that everybody was entitled to do his or her own thing. As a matter of fact, my newly acquired religiosity was heralded as "far out" and interestingly strange. But while the kids at the high school made few demands of me, the people at church were not so liberating. The church fold had clearly delineated expectations for me, and they quickly

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taught me what I could and could not do. It was the stifling effect of these expectations of the religious that almost destroyed my faith. It was the pressure of church people rather than the seduction of the world that almost did me in.

   John Fischer understands people like me, and if you are like me, you will like this book and be helped by it. The ways in which Fischer worked through the confinements of religiosity into the freedom of spirituality are useful examples for all of us who are caught up in similar treks.

   Jesus taught that the constraints of religiously legitimated cultural legalism had to be challenged. In this book, Fischer tries to follow in the footsteps of His master and strike out against those same kinds of biblically ungrounded ideas which smother the joyful freedom that can be had in Jesus. When you finish this book, you probably will get a better feel for that freedom and it may be that the next time someone asks you, "Can Christians dance?", you will answer, "Some can . . . and some can't." John would love your answer.

Chapter 1  ||  Table of Contents