Never has the “don’t judge a book by its cover” mantra been more true than with Matt Walsh’s “Church of Cowards.”
When I opened Jeff Bezos’ box and pulled it out my first thought was, ‘This belongs in the 75 percent off bin at Safeway.”
Boy, was I wrong!
“Church of Cowards” is a brilliant clarion call from one of the most important conservative Christian writers of our day. It’s also a devastating indictment on what we’ve become as a Church in America.
In the opening Walsh tells the story of Christians in Egypt who sacrifice their lives for their faith. He juxtaposes that with how comfy Christians in America would fold their faith up if someone took their cell phone away or canceled a favorite TV show.
Sadly, he’s probably right.
Christians shrugging off the indoctrination of souls by pop culture and not pushing back is one of many salient points Walsh makes in “Church of Cowards.” It’s bad enough we let the religion of Hollywood get a grip on our souls through mindless entertainment. It’s worse when we stand by and let them swallow our children whole.
The author takes aim at the mega Churches of America for their lack of religious aesthetics, coffee shop vibe and hipster Pastor approach to the Gospel. Even worse? Think of those wishy-washy sermons with opening bands that are neither secular in their presentation, nor truly faithful in their commitment.
“Church of Cowards” leaves no cultural stone unturned. Consider its critiques of the following:
- Prosperity Gospel
- Gender wars
- Social justice warriors
- Hollywood hypocrites
- The dark side of the faith-based film industry
Those who twist the Bible to make it fit into a contemporary, secular world for the sole purpose of being liked are also in his cross hairs.
Being “liked” is how one gets to sell their book on Oprah, but Walsh isn’t interested in that. His whole point is that to be faithful to the Word of God you’ll never fit in and the world will hate you. That’s the good news if you’re committed to your faith.
He slams Hollywood for the shows like “Scandal,” which featured an episode where “Silent Night” played in the background during an abortion procedure. He also name-checks “Curb Your Enthusiasm” for a sequence where star Larry David urinates on a picture of Jesus.
“I could point to many examples of Hollywood’s openly and gleefully mocking Christianity. The networks don’t always have commercial success with these shows, but that doesn’t stop them from trying,” he says.
“Church of Cowards” is not some rant from a podcaster with an ax to grind with the world of Christianity. Walsh is clearly coming from his own mindset, asking for a radical community of change in how we go to Church and how we wear our faith.
The book is thoughtful, Biblically sound, well researched and funny at times. If you’ve ever gone to Church in America you’ll see yourself in its page.
Walsh’s tome is an excellent reminder that Jesus never pussyfooted around and neither should we. If you’ve not picked up a Bible lately, may I suggest you crack “Church of Cowards” first. That way you’ll know what’s expected of you when you do commit to the Bible.
Joseph Granda is the writer/director of the forthcoming feature film “The Healing Garden.” You can follow him on Facebook.