Giving Away the Store

OK, we’re not exactly doing that, but today I did upload the PDF file of the rewrite of my first book ever—The Naked Church. This was my first attempt to express my passion for the body of Christ in the world and how we’ve traded the realities of relationship for the burden and ineffectiveness of programs. My hope was that it would help people discover the life of the church not as they’ve always known it, but church as they’ve always believed it could be. Then we would come to recognize how we’ve sacrificed a vibrant intimate walk with Jesus for traditions, programs and institutions, and how we can recover his life again. I had no idea at the time where that little book would take me.

The first edition of this book was filled with anger and some of the answers it offered were as stuck in the religious mud as those things I was criticizing. I just didn’t know it then. In 1998 I rewrote that book in the Revised Third Edition that has been available since. Many people have found a kindred spirit in that book and a hunger to see the church emerge is the living body of Christ in the world. It freed them to believe that what Jesus had put on their hearts wasn’t an idealistic fantasy, but a calling of the Spirit to go beyond the status quo of our religious institutions and find the life that really is life.

Just yesterday I received the following email from a pastor in Alabama:

Just to let you know, I have read two chapters (of The Naked Church) so far and almost burst into tears. Not because I didn’t see all of this, just because someone else does. I could have almost written word for word what I have read so far. Thank you for putting it into print. I plan on reading the whole book in a short time, and I’ll email you back when I get to the end. God bless you, my brother.

I hope the book continues to stir people to a more passionate walk with God wherever you are in the world. You can download the PDF file here.

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8 Comments
  1. Greg July 17, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    Hey Wayne! Great. Quick story for you and the other readers… my brother in law is a part-time youth guy at a “religious institution” in Cincinnati, OH. (Actually, I suppose that is his super-part-time thing…) Anyway, we gave him a copy of this book as he is often frustrated by the politics, misplaced focus and general institutional machinery of their “church home”. He read it and was blown away by the stuff in there. We have had some good conversations over it. So, your book continues to connect with people!

    Josh was preaching one Sunday morning – just before a new “senior minister” took over, and this was the sermon he preached – inspired greatly by your book, The Naked Church.

    http://www.parkside-cc.com/sermons/parkside_06-18-06%20(josh).mp3

  2. kent July 17, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    this book was my first introduction to Wayne 10 or 11 years ago. I was involved in a home thing having left the institutional thing some 6 years earlier. The book was just another confirmation along the way that me and my wife and those we were hanging with weren’t nuts or at least if we were we weren’t alone. It also came at a time that I had started to become very aware of the fact that leaving the institution was the easy part, as hard as that was and Father getting the institution out of me was going to be a little more tricky. 17 years later I’m starting to feel a significant rewiring work revealing itself in my life. That institutional religious thinking dosen’t go easy, but Father knows what he is doing. Hebrews 12:2 is front and center in my mind these days. He is the author and finisher of all this work.

  3. Greg July 17, 2006 at 7:22 pm

    Hey Wayne! Great. Quick story for you and the other readers… my brother in law is a part-time youth guy at a “religious institution” in Cincinnati, OH. (Actually, I suppose that is his super-part-time thing…) Anyway, we gave him a copy of this book as he is often frustrated by the politics, misplaced focus and general institutional machinery of their “church home”. He read it and was blown away by the stuff in there. We have had some good conversations over it. So, your book continues to connect with people!

    Josh was preaching one Sunday morning – just before a new “senior minister” took over, and this was the sermon he preached – inspired greatly by your book, The Naked Church.

    http://www.parkside-cc.com/sermons/parkside_06-18-06%20(josh).mp3

  4. kent July 17, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    this book was my first introduction to Wayne 10 or 11 years ago. I was involved in a home thing having left the institutional thing some 6 years earlier. The book was just another confirmation along the way that me and my wife and those we were hanging with weren’t nuts or at least if we were we weren’t alone. It also came at a time that I had started to become very aware of the fact that leaving the institution was the easy part, as hard as that was and Father getting the institution out of me was going to be a little more tricky. 17 years later I’m starting to feel a significant rewiring work revealing itself in my life. That institutional religious thinking dosen’t go easy, but Father knows what he is doing. Hebrews 12:2 is front and center in my mind these days. He is the author and finisher of all this work.

  5. mtash July 18, 2006 at 11:31 am

    This is good timing–perhaps “God” timing. I’ve been desperate to find reading material as I will be checking into the hospital next Saturday to complete a clinical drug study over the next three weeks. Just about all I’ll be allowed to do while I’m there is read or do crosswords. I bought “So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore?” online and I just printed off “The Naked Church”. My printer was not really thrilled about it, but I sure am. I’ve still got some discarded paper from my husband’s office left…I wonder if it’s enough to print off “He Loves Me”…?

    BTW, Wayne, when exactly will you be in Minneapolis? My husband and I are about 3.5 hours away.

  6. mtash July 18, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    This is good timing–perhaps “God” timing. I’ve been desperate to find reading material as I will be checking into the hospital next Saturday to complete a clinical drug study over the next three weeks. Just about all I’ll be allowed to do while I’m there is read or do crosswords. I bought “So You Don’t Want to go to Church Anymore?” online and I just printed off “The Naked Church”. My printer was not really thrilled about it, but I sure am. I’ve still got some discarded paper from my husband’s office left…I wonder if it’s enough to print off “He Loves Me”…?

    BTW, Wayne, when exactly will you be in Minneapolis? My husband and I are about 3.5 hours away.

  7. steve July 19, 2006 at 5:08 am

    Wayne, I so appreciate your generous heart and the way in which you are making such helpful material available to people. Dad’s best to you.

  8. steve July 19, 2006 at 8:08 am

    Wayne, I so appreciate your generous heart and the way in which you are making such helpful material available to people. Dad’s best to you.

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