Book Review: When “Spiritual But Religous” Is Not Enough

When When “Spiritual but Not Religious” Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even the Church by Lillian Daniel
Publisher: Jericho Books
Release Date: January 15, 2013
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Publisher’s Description:

The phrase “I’m spiritual but not religious” has become a cliché. It’s easy to find God amid the convenience of self-styled spirituality–but is it possible (and more worthwhile) to search for God through religion?

Minister and celebrated author Lillian Daniel gives a new spin on church with stories of what a life of faith can really be: weird, wondrous, and well worth trying. From a rock-and-roller sexton to a BB gun-toting grandma, a church service attended by animals to a group of unlikely theologians at Sing Sing, Daniel shows us a portrait of church that is flawed, fallible–and deeply faithful. With poignant reflections and sly wit, Daniel invites all of us to step out of ourselves, dare to become a community, and encounter a God greater than we could ever invent.

Humorous and sincere, this is a book about people finding God in the most unexpected of places: prisons, airports, yoga classes, committee meetings, and, strangest of all, right there in church.

Lillian Daniel is the senior minister of a United Church of Christ church in the Chicago area. I read this book because the minister of my church (a Unitarian Universalist church) told the congregation he was going to give a sermon based on it.

The focus of this book is the importance of religious community. Daniel has a snarky, sarcastic sense of humor but stops short of sounding self-righteous. She uses personal stories to make her points. The book is a serious of thoughtful, sometimes funny, sometimes serious vignettes. The UCC is a liberal Christian denomination, which is apparent in her writing and viewpoint. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to all. If you want to read a really good discussion of this book, you should check out my minister’s sermon on it here. Enjoy!