Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Sep 21st
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

State of Grace

ae Dan KimballVintage Faith founder sifts through the ‘mess’ of modern-day church in new book

Dan Kimball is not your average church founder. Having not grown up in a Christian family, his path to evangelical Christianity has been a circuitous one, which includes several years as a punk and rockabilly drummer.

Eventually, that colorful background led to the founding of Vintage Faith Church and The Abbey in Santa Cruz, and more recently, Kimball has used his unique perspective to write “Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus in the Mess of Organized Religion,” a book published by Harper Collins.

Penned with a healthy dose of humor, the book analyzes the shortcomings of church in this day and age, while envisioning the potential for an improved future.

“I kept hearing over and over a lot of understandable confusion about Christianity and church; it’s understandably critiqued a lot,” Kimball says about the book’s conception. “I say ‘understandable’ because I’ve had the same critiques. So this book ended up coming from talking with enough people that I wanted to write something about my best understanding of what church is supposed to be.”

In his book, Kimball defines “Churchland” as “the evangelical Christian subculture and all that goes with it, including music, language, codes of approval, and values.”

“I was a citizen of Churchland for a while,” he admits. “I’m not trying to disrespect those who are—I’m trying to use the scriptures and the Bible as my basis of saying, ‘Look at what we’re doing, it’s not quite in alignment with what Jesus was about.’”

On the flip side, there are those readers who may not be religious, for whom Kimball thinks the book still has something to offer. “To those that have had bad experiences with Christians, or even just seen the portrayal of Christians in the media—the extremists generally get the attention—but there are a lot of Christians out there who aren’t like that,” he says.

ae AdventuresinChurchland BookWith the recent presidential election, religion has become—appropriately or not—the subject of many a conversation in the media. That said, Kimball would like to stress that his book is not political. “The Bible and Jesus are not republican or democratic,” he says. “This is not a political book. When I’ve gotten asked about our church, ‘Do you direct politics?’ No. You should vote on your own intelligent decisions, about who’s the best person for the role.”

Continuing on the same train of thought, he adds, “And I do think we should be very much involved in politics as citizens, but when you start bringing in religion and using it, then I think that’s shameful for politicians to do, and it can become unintelligent mass thinking.”

“Adventures in Churchland” concludes with the idea of “Graceland,” which Kimball defines as “the beautiful, messy community of Jesus’ followers, his church, who are so appreciative of and thankful for God’s grace that they remain in the world, humbly sharing with others the wonderful news of Jesus and grace.”

Kimball says he has already seen signs of progress toward that goal, particularly at Vintage Faith, where 36 percent of its members are college students. “I really believe that what’s going on now, is there are so many younger Christians especially—some older too—that are just saying, let’s redefine church and Christianity; not redefine it to what we want it to be, but let’s go back to the teachings, let’s see where we’ve goofed up and focus on the grace of God: love, forgiveness, compassion.”

He believes that growth is also occurring outside of his church’s walls. “There are churches that are being birthed all over the country now that are focusing more in a Graceland sense,” he says. “I do believe the church is changing overall—it’s not just our church. I think there’s a movement of people saying, let’s shift from Churchland to Graceland, and that’s why I have great hope for the future of the church—though I know there will be those that fight it. But I think it’s becoming more of a discussion out there, and that’s why I’m very optimistic.” 


“Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus in the Mess of Organized Religion,” can be purchased at Bookshop Santa Cruz or online at amazon.com.

Comments (3)Add Comment
...
written by a guest, November 12, 2012
I have watched Dan and Vintage Faith closely for many years. I love the way the message and person of Jesus are lifted up and much of the man-made stuff of church life is pushed to the side. The world needs more churches like Vintage and more leaders like Dan. And, thanks to Good Times and Mark (the writer of this article) for telling this story with a beautiful measure of grace! What a joy to see the media and church recpriocating kindness and grace. Very hopeful! Kevin G, Harney
...
written by a guest, November 08, 2012
Dan is a good guy. I really like his hair. Oh and this book is good too.
...
written by a guest, November 07, 2012
Great article! I have actually read Dan's recent book and it is not only very funny, but is inspiring and gives me hope for the future that people will discover the love of Jesus amidst the mess of the church.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.