The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus is a book written by Bruxy Cavey
The End of Religion is a great book. It’s fantastic! It’s challenging but dedicatedly Biblical. Put this one on your shelf and read it through a few times!
The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus did not jump out at me when I opened the last package of books sent to me for review by the good people of The Ooze Select Bloggers Network. The book blended in nicely with the other four or five titles. So, it went ignored for quite some time. Later, as I was working on another project in my study, the name decorating the front cover suddenly grabbed my attention. Bruxy Cavey! The thought suddenly dawned on me, “Bruxy Cavey wrote a book! Awesome!” I picked it up immediately and began paging through it.
Who is Bruxy? Bruxy is a pastor of The Meeting House and a member of The Brethren in Christ Church. I have yet to meet this guy, but I will soon. I think it’s fantastic that one of our own - A Brethren in Christ guy - has a great book on the shelves of stores. The End of Religion is a great read. It was a happy surprise, to say the least!
The book itself is divided into three sections: The Beginning of the End; A Scandalous Life; The Irreligious Implications. The big idea is “religion is bad and Jesus is good.” That’s a very quick and admittedly sloppy summarization of the book’s well supported thesis.
I would have, at one time, seriously disagreed with Bruxy on the way the term “religion” is being implemented and used in this context. I have been changed drastically regarding this issue after engaging church planting and ministry in the city over the past few months. It seems that some aspects of religion are more important in the seminary classroom than they are in the city. I graduated from seminary; I’m living in the city. Religion, as Bruxy is defining it, is worth a lot more in the classroom. So, I’ll happily leave it there and look for Jesus in the city. My first few months of life, living, and ministry in the city has introduced me to this most welcome lesson.
Bruxy defines “religion” as “any reliance on systems or institutions, rules, or rituals as our conduit to God” (37). He cites Jesus Christ as the only conduit to God, and rightly so. Jesus is it; he is the one and only way to the Father. If we replace Jesus Christ with any rules, systems, rituals, or methods, and think that by or in them we somehow can reach the Father, then we have sorely missed the point of Jesus Christ. Nothing can take the place of Jesus as our fulfillment and living connection to God the Father. We would do well to embrace this fact and live it. Why? Well, according to Bruxy, it’s biblical! He writes:
“For the purposes of this book, I will be intentional about using the Bible as my primary source, for two important reasons. First, the four different Greco-Roman biographies of Jesus we have in the Bible (called the Gospels) are historically more valid than many of us have been led to believe … but there is another reason I’m using the Bible as my primary source for this book. It is the fact that religious people, at least those from the Christian tradition, must take a biblical message seriously … my purpose in this book is to point out the radical nature of the message of Jesus that has been sitting right under our religious noses all this time” (24).
It is refreshing to stumble upon a book wherein solid exposition of the radical nature of Jesus is provided while the unfortunate and contemporary reliance upon almost everything and anything except the Bible is avoided. This is a rarity indeed!
Bruxy begins with the Bible and ends with the Bible in The End of Religion. The contents between is a challenging call to dispense with all of our religious baggage and give Jesus reign over all of our lives and ministries. It’s an awesome call and challenge. I pray it happens with me and you.
“… following Jesus will move us toward his counter cultural way of limitless forgiveness, radical acceptance, non-violent peacemaking, and sacrificial love. It will will also move us away from dependence on religious systems as our pathway to God” (83).
Recommendation: Put this book on your shelf and read it a few times.