Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pure Scum: The Left-Out, the Right-Brained and the Grace of God

It seems that Mike Sares never wanted to pastor a church with such a brazen name. But more importantly, he was open to following God’s call. In Pure Scum: The Left-Out, the Right-Brained and the Grace of God (InterVarsity Press, 2010) pastor Mike Sares shares with us his experiences leading up to, and being the pastor of Scum of the Earth Church in Denver, Colorado. The church’s name comes from 1 Corinthians 4:13. Scum of the Earth is a church for those who wouldn’t normally set foot in a typical suburban evangelical congregation for fear of rejection. Goths, punks, drunkards and homeless are regular attendees at Scum.

In Pure Scum we are taken on a journey that explores what it means to follow Christ, to listen to his calling, and to be obedient to it, even when doing so means taking substantial risks. Sares shows us that following Christ is an adventure, and he firmly holds to the idea that it is an adventure worth taking. To pastor a church like Scum is to experience extreme hardship, to share in immense pain and to live in community with many of whom the world has rejected. The characters encountered in this book are loveable because Sares shows us that they too, matter to God.

At its heart, Pure Scum reminds readers that we are all in fact, broken; we are all desperately in need of a savior. This book points us to a God whose grace is far greater than we realize, far greater than we’ll ever know or understand this side of heaven. Hopefully reading this book will stretch readers to more fully understand that God’s love reaches out to those whom we often overlook, even despise at times. We are all messed up, and perhaps it’s because the “left-out” and the “right-brained” realize this more about themselves than others that they experience God’s grace in ways that are so compelling.
Reviewed by Chris Wagner

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