Meet Charles McGarry, an ex-pastor with very interesting world views (hence the "ex"!), In his short essay – a mere 50 pages or so – he shares with the reader everything he's come to discover is wrong about the Church (not to be confused with Faith!) and offers viable alternatives to make this world a better place. The best part in all this is that The Confessions of a Hipie ex-Pastor is accessible to everyone, believer or not.
I have to say that when I saw the title of the book, I was a bit put off. I am weary of non-fiction books where the name of God is constantly branshished as the solution to all of mankind's problems. This book, however, was not one of them, and I am glad I didn't let the title deter me. McGarry's thoughts are extremely well structured. His references to pop culture (who would have thought God and the Matrix could coexist on the same page?) lighten a topic that could have been much more arid. To boot, his personnal stories help the reader connect with his ideas, which are very progressive.
Speaking of those, what are the main ideas in this essay? McGarry addresses first and foremost the very delicate topic of the Church as a financial institution. He explains how, in his opinion, this has put Faith on the back burner in favour of a business Church, catering less and less to the needs of those it was supposed to help in the first place. Then, he addresses the close affiliation of Church and State, underlining the pernicious consequences this has brought about. Faced with a growing obese American population (which he partially links to evangelical potlucks!), he believes it's aboud time for his fellow countrymen to wake up and take the green shift, not only in terms of nutrition and well-being, but also in terms of the environment as a whole. He encourages the readers to take action to proctect the planet.
Through all these topics, there's a constant theme: breaking the mold. McGarry is clear on this topic; everyone is different and has different needs. As human beings, we should be able to questions and analyze the dogmas passed down to us by Church, society and even our families, in order to be our true selves. This way, we may achieve much more as individuals and thus contribute to society.
Lastly, I would like to add that McGarry's prose is a delight. It is simple and straight to the point. It doesn't hinder the reading, thus allowing the message to be conveyed with all its force. This little book is a gem. Take a moment and read it.