Monday, January 4, 2010

Ten - Churchgoers

I didn't know quite what to expect with this book. The short description on the back of the cover did not tell me what direction it was going to go in.

The book takes place in a college town and focuses around the Campus Church building where both a traditional protestant congregation comes to worship as well as a more radical holy spirit lifting group rents space there as well. There is a push and pull between the leaders of the two groups regarding setup and cleanup of the main sanctuary.

Mitchell Chandler, a well-known professor at the University, gives a talk at the Campus Church about his groundbreaking work. His father Austin Chandler, the dean of one of the schools at the University, comes to Campus Church weekly for a SensesAlive! class. Randy & Lee Overmeyer lead the Spirit Arising parish at Campus Church after falling in love in Dallas many years ago. They are trying to raise money for a new sanctuary, but "the spirit" has left the parish and attendance has drifted. Vera and Walter are two retirees who are the last ones of their friends still living on their original street in town. Walter wants to move to the retirement home, but Vera wants to stay put.

Demons "invade" Mitchell's body and nearly cause him to lose his laboratory and his family. Randy & Lee help exorcise the demons out of his body and fill him with the Holy Spirit. Suddenly the parish of Spirit Arising is growing and the future is looking brighter. Vera and Walter decide that moving into the retirement home makes sense and begin preparations. Austin Chandler ends up tripping on the bleachers at a high school football game and passes away. Mitchell reconcils with his family and they begin to attend services together at the Campus Church.

I'm not sure what to think of this book. While its a good picture of a college town life and how different generations and view points interact together, I didn't quite follow the plot throughout the middle of the book. The brother of Mitchell was given two chapters within the book - but not until the last 50 pages. I didn't see why that character wasn't developed to the same level of detail as the others. Also when the "demons" invaded Mitchell's body - I didn't quite get what was happening to him. I expected the book to be more about church life and the interactions of the staff and parishners, but that angle was limited within this book.

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