Your book has an unusual title, How to
Quit Church Without Quitting God. How did you come up with that?
By meditating for hours in the shower! Seriously, the title was very
difficult. It was hard finding a title that says precisely what the book
is about without causing misunderstanding. I wanted to say something
against the religious system—because I
think the system deserves it—but without
people thinking I was an atheist or, you know, some crazy revolutionary.
So you still wanted to have God in the title.
I had to have God in the title, because the book is a godly book.
People associate quitting church with backsliding, or beginning a life of
That’s the problem. According to the popular belief, people who quit
church are on the slippery road to hell. I don’t believe that. I give
people more credit than that.
There is a spiritual trend in this country, a trend away from
institutions and toward a freelance form of worship. What do you think is
the cause of it?
First of all, I’m glad you said it was a spiritual trend, because
it is. The people who are leaving, or thinking about leaving, are not
godless people. They’re spiritual seekers who are
Shoemaker is a journalism major at Ashland
University and works as a staff writer for The Norwalk
fed up with the religious
treadmill. They want to know the true God, but they’re not getting Him
in the institution. Instead, they’re having to worry about who will be
ushering next Sunday, or what the song line-up will be, or how they’ll
raise money for the new gymnasium. They’re saying to themselves,
"We’re looking for God here, but everybody else seems to be
playing games, or only wanting to look spiritual."
know many people who feel the tug of God, but they’re afraid to
abandon the system because it comforts them. For every person who has
left, there must be hundreds who are afraid to take that step.
Or more. People are afraid that if they leave the institution they’ll
be leaving God, or turning their backs on Jesus Christ. Because that’s
what they’re told, basically. My book is here to tell them that God
and Christ are not part of the system. Jesus Christ is not a
member of the Christian religion. So people can quit church
without quitting God, because God is not in the system.
(Laughing) I thought you said you weren’t a revolutionary!