“The church must suffer for speaking the truth, for pointing out sin, for uprooting sin. No one wants to have a sore spot touched, and therefore a society with so many sores twitches when someone has the courage to touch it and say: “You have to treat that. You have to get rid of that. Believe in Christ. Be converted.”

– Oscar A. Romero, The Violence of Love

Everyone has seen the marketing strategy of the “before and after shot”. For diet products, it’s usually a flabby waistline in one shot, trimmed down to a svelte 6 pack in the next. Or it’s the picture of a retro, run-down kitchen compared to its refurbished, modern version. We also use these before and after shots in our own marketing because it works.

The fact is, everyone loves a good conversion story. We like the idea that something old, fat, ugly, or sick can transform into something fresh, new, beautiful, and healthy.

Every major product on the market touts some amazing transformation at its very core. We love knowing that we can change our current situation into something bigger and better. We need to feel that we can give our financial status, our outward appearance, our negative relationships, or health outcomes a major makeover.

Yet, all of these before and after transformations only deal with outward changes. They mean nothing if a spiritual conversion hasn’t taken place. Unfortunately, you’ll never find a miracle spiritual makeover pill on the market. It’s something that has to come from within and for some it’s much harder than you think.

That’s why today we are starting the Summer Book Club. Over the next several weeks we’ll be reading and discussing “The Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning. I chose this book because for many, religion has simply become a scorecard. We think of God as a bookkeeper, tallying up are imperfections. And because of this, we never truly convert to the ABSOLUTE Grace of God. We don’t open ourselves up to true transformation through Him.

But if you do, I guarantee this revelation will hit you like Mack Truck and shake you to your very core. The way you operate will never be the same again.

So, get a copy of this book, let’s read it together, and make the true conversion to God’s ultimate and unfathomable love for us.