Imagine a culture that once enjoyed rich and flavorful foods and drinks. Also imagine that it was also good for them. Over the generations, the food and drink became more bland and less nutritious, but no one noticed because it was so gradual. Finally, for many moons, this culture ate crackers, drank water, and no one really complained because they weren’t going hungry or thirsty.
Now imagine someone rediscovers something as basic as salt. They begin to put it on the crackers and they (re)invent the saltine. They begin to investigate the history of this revolutionary thing called salt and learn about sugar, and spice, and everything nice. A radical revolution begins in cooking. This also leads them to (re)discover drinks like tea, coffee, wine, beer, etc.
What was the problem here? Was it the food’s problem, or was it the people’s problem? It was the people’s problem. Something as basic as salt shouldn’t be considered amazing or revolutionary. But if people had gone without it for so long and didn’t know any better, it would be.
I think if enough people get their hands on Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman, the same kind of thing could happen. That isn’t a dig on the book, that’s a dig on the church. On the one hand, this is a very simple, very basic book. The material isn’t revolutionary. It’s Kyle basically saying, “Jesus meant what He said, so let’s do that.” Being a fully committed follower of Jesus has become crackers and water. Kyle is reintroducing us to salt. And I think he’s awesome for doing so.
Something similar happened when Rick Warren wrote the Purpose Driven Life books. (This isn’t a defense or an attack on those, just an observation.) When those came out, the church ate them up. But when you read them, it’s really just basic discipleship stuff. The church went nuts for it because they had been getting crackers and water for so long that they didn’t know any better. I’m hoping that the Not A Fan series of resources becomes a similar phenomenon.
Kyle asks all the right questions. He asks all the really simple, yet difficult questions. He makes you take it from theory to action if you are willing to do so. At The Exchange Church, we are going to use his materials starting in September. I’m so looking forward to seeing how this impacts our church, myself included.