Since Love is an Orientation started to get some notoriety I have been asked quite a few times to endorse people’s forthcoming books. I have learned that there are three main philosophies on giving endorsements, and I list them in descending order from most popular philosophy to least popular:
1. Endorse every book asked of you to get your name/book/website out there as broad as possible—hey, you can always find something nice to say about a book
2. Endorse books only from your friends—that way you won’t have to read the books, you can just say something great about the person you already love
3. Endorse only what you read and fully believe in, whether you know the person or not
As with everything else in my life, I can’t help myself but to choose the least traveled road; even if it does cost me. Therefore I have turned down every endorsement I have been asked to give for a book because when I read the book in full (which I do every time), whether I know the person or not, if I don’t 100% believe in it, I won’t endorse it.
The first book I have ever endorsed is Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality by Michael Spencer, aka the Internet Monk. Over the last few years I have gotten to know Michael, on a personal level, very well. Even before we met, he believed in me and my work stronger than anyone! And our relationship just continued to grow.
We spend countless hours talking trash to each other about the Reds and the Cubs (yes, I wore that shirt in the picture on purpose!). We supported each other. We prayed for each other. We encouraged each other. We loved each other. He even volunteered to be my body-guard! And then Michael got diagnosed with a very advanced form of cancer and he passed away a few months ago.
Yet his words, his message, his dying plea to the Church lives on forever through his first, and now only book, Mere Churchianity.
Not only did I believe in him, I believed in his passionate message of claiming a Jesus-shaped spirituality in this post-evangelical wilderness we find ourselves in. Michael was saying that long before any of these other “cool Christians” who are now saying it and claiming it as their own. That is why I wrote the following endorsement for Michael’s book (when asked me to do so the summer before he fell ill. I wrote this when Michael had not yet passed away; how strange the message holds true whether in life or death):
“Michael Spencer has been the voice of a generation as the Internet Monk. And now in his highly anticipated manifesto, Mere Churchianity, Spencer writes for a new generation of people that are struggling to figure out what it means to live a real Jesus-shaped spirituality—one that has finally been released from the oppressive burdens of the dominating religious, political and cultural norms that suffocate our everyday existence. Mere Churchianity not only delivers, but its message will live on forever through the lives that can’t help but be irrevocably changed by reading this book.”
I literally meant every single word I wrote about it. Please, if there is anything I can ask of you, please buy Michael’s book. Not only do I promise you will love and be challenged by every page, but this is also the way that you will be able to financially support Michael’s wife and children. There is a bigger message and impact than just the $9.44 you will pay for this book!
I urge you to please join with me and help Michael’s legacy live on for generations to come!