When Evangelicalism has Stopped Making Sense

This is the site for the author, J. Michael Jones. His book, Butterflies in the Belfry, Serpents in the Cellar; An Unintentional Quest for Natural Christianity, is now available in all major bookstores and outlets. You can order discounted copies at Lulu book disturbers below. Naked Christian Press is proud to publish this important book, our first in a series of refreshing books on Christianity and culture.

The Big Questions Addressed in Butterflies in the Belfry

  1. Why is there suffering?
  2. Why do bad things happen?
  3. How much was modern Christianity influenced by Greek and other philosophies?
  4. How do we escape Christian fatalism?
  5. What is the relationship between faith and reason?
  6. Why should we respect and enjoy the material world?
  7. How does one recover from a severe disillusionment in Christianity?
  8. What does depression look like from the inside out?
  9. How do we achieve a great candor in our Christian thinking?
  10. What are the bare essentials for living in a Christian community?

Preview Chapter 1

What Readers are Saying About Butterflies in the Belfry–Serpents in the Cellar

Independent Book Review

Here are quotes from readers:

When evangelicalism stops making sense, Butterflies in the Belfry is a road map back to sanity.


A must-read for anyone who has every doubted their faith or experienced a  serious Christian disillusionment.


Will be one of the most talked about Christian books by the end of the year.


I got the book yesterday. Over half-way through it. Man, you are a good writer. And I am so glad you wrote this book! 

Introduction:

In 1988, Michael Jones moved his family to the Middle East to be
missionaries to Muslims as part of one of the most demanding
Christian organizations. Michael found the Muslim people to be
extremely hospitable, but discovered serious flaws within his own
evangelical worldview. After a catastrophic collapse of faith, standing
in middle of the post-evangelical wilderness, Michael contemplates
the possible paths out, including returning to agnosticism or even
suicide.

Michael takes the reader on an intimate yet intellectually enthralling
journey through his personal history and the history of Western
civilization. In the end, not only does he find the answers to his
personal dilemma, but, inadvertently, he discovers a refreshing form
of Christianity, that has been forgotten.

Book Trailer:

Here is one of the endorsements:

I have my own story of the religious wilderness, as do a multitude of
others. But J. Michael Jones’s story stands out to me as a fresh example
of how churches and Christian organizations often fail to nurture faith
and maturity, instead leading their members into faith crises through
lack of love and simple human understanding. The problem of dualism
he puts his finger on is often at the heart of the problem. Before we are
Christians, we are human beings, and too many have forgotten that.
Read this book as one good help for finding the way back.

Chaplain Michael Mercer
Lead writer, Internet Monk
Author of “Walking Home Together” (23rd Publications)

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Contents

Introduction. 7

Chapter One – The Year of the Rabbit 9

Chapter Two – Postcards from the Post-Evangelical Wilderness. 26

Chapter Three – Strangled by My Belt 32

Chapter Four – The Baptist Bar Mitzvah. 41

Chapter Five – What are You Worth?. 51

Chapter Six – Repossessed Memories. 60

Chapter Seven – Freakin’ Jesus Freaks. 69

Chapter Eight – Foundation Blocks. 76

Chapter Nine – Linchpin. 81

Chapter Ten – The Shoulders. 94

Chapter Eleven – Utopia?. 101

Chapter Twelve – The Great Bifurcation. 107

Chapter Thirteen – The Celestial Tango. 117

Chapter Fourteen – A Mystery of Cars. 122

Chapter Fifteen – House of Medici: The Midwives of the Renaissance. 130

Chapter Sixteen –The Gnostics. 145

Chapter Seventeen – A Divided Present 160

Chapter Eighteen – The Summit Ridge. 167

Chapter Nineteen– So? The Philosophical Question. 174

Chapter Twenty – So? The Spiritual Question. 184

Chapter Twenty-one—So? The Question of Community. 187



13 thoughts on “Butterflies in the Belfry—Serpents in the Cellar, an Unintentional Pursuit of a Natural Christianity

  1. My name is Mahmoud I am Syrian refugees in Jordan I am suffering from heart disease do not have the money measure the process and let’s not available in Jordan and has Raiat that there is a Canadian program that if there were five Canadians Ikvlona to travel to Canada Vsikon Mmtnn I want to work in Canada to Laufer eighth process I hope that you find five Canadians Tibi heart assisting counsel patients heart and Hkurn was Meko Mahmoud am 21 years old

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  2. My early yrs of Sunday school n a bully are very close . it sent me into a down word spin that has lasted for my life of 59 yrs. Knowing something was very wrong, my faith was at a place of no self. Esteem. I was looking at my phone which I seldom do except to talk to my daughter. When out of no where your video of butterflies n serpents in short showed up on my phone it instantly caught me, I could not get to my wallet ,so I just left my phone and it shut off thinking I would just have to swipe it and your book would be there. Wrong ! So I went to my activity list , not their ! The one thing I did was read where it was sold before getting off. Your yrs. Of real research is amazing. Your book was the best book I have ever red . since I have a problem remembering what I read , I don’t read. But I am so very grateful to you answering questions I have had my hole life . it is a book of knowledge that millions as I have carried for a life time! Thank you for the ability to bring me out of the RABBIT HOLE. I will read all your work . again thank you for restoring my faith . I lived in anticortis , sedrow wooly . standing in the tops of those giants looking at such wondrous works . AMEN

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  3. Kim, I am very grateful for your kind words. I have done writing before in many forms, but have never put the thought and care in a project like I have this book. I really do think it could be helpful to many people as the lessons learned were very helpful to me. For reasons that are not clear, I have been able to promote and sell other (far less quality) books, but this one has been a very slow start. Most people who read it, write me and tell it is a life-changing book and gave them a fresh new way of thinking about Christianity. Most say they wish everyone could read it. Yet, I have yet to find a way to promote it successfully. Because it is quite expensive getting books in print, if I can’t recoup at least half of my cost, I’m afraid that my writing days may be over. Otherwise, I have about ten books in my soul that I would love to see in print. Thank you for reading it.

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  4. I have great respect for those who choose to ‘throw out organised religion’ & teach on relationship. I have not read your book-yet- . I have many ideas in my heart that I would like to put into a book to help/show people that they are the ones in charge of their thoughts, feelings etc. Could you please send me information on how I can contact this publisher. God bless you and thank you in advance, Andy

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  5. We are a small publisher with the purpose of creating good media with a refreshing and simple approach to Christianity. Butterflies in the Belfry–Serpents in the Cellar was our first book. We have a very limited budget and it cost about $10,000 just getting this book in print. Since sales at Amazon (for example) generates only about 30 cents revenue per book, it will take a long time before we recoup enough money to consider our next book. Advertising is also expensive and unreliable. So far, for every dollar we have spent on advertising, we have made about 5 cents in revenue. So, until this book takes off (which we think it will from all the positive reports we have had from the readers) we cannot consider taking on a new project. Good luck. If you ever see Butterflies in the Belfry in the top 20 Christian best sellers (which we anticipate it will be) please contact us again about your work.

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  6. Hi, J. Michael Jones – Look up Frank Viola, author of Pagan Christianity and many other radical books on returning to simple Christianity. Very life-changing!
    I will be ordering your book.
    God bless you!
    Mary

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  7. I’ve seen his books but have not read them. I have met some who claim that today’s cultural interpretation of Christianity is evil and we must return to a precise brand from some point in history (such as Celtic Christianity) and etc. I’m certainly not saying that. But sometimes the pure and simple becomes obscured by the cultural manifestations of faith. There is nothing wrong with someone enjoying a wonderful church service if that is what they like. But if you don’t like the cultural view of what church is, you should have the freedom to create other forms as long as the very simple or (Natural) principles of Christianity are not violated.

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    1. I agree. Years ago, I had a growing dissatisfaction with “church as usual” and didn’t know what to think or what to do about it. Having been raised in a Southern Baptist denomination ( with a little Presbyterian mixed in), and then experiencing the Charismatic Movement and being a ‘worship leader’ and youth leader, etc. and having a passionate desire to follow Jesus, I was seeing to much in the church that troubled me. The first book I ran across was The Open Church by Jim Rutz and it was water in a dry land for me. Then Gene Edwards of SeedSowers and Frank Viola. Much reading and searching on my part for authentic Christianity, like the first century believers (ekklesia).
      It’s a journey but I can’t settle for less than God’s intention for us.

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  8. Michael:
    Reading your book now.
    I have had similar disintegrating experiences to what you speak of and have spent years sorting through it. It has not led to a loss of faith for me, but a deepening.
    But there were periods when I became agnostic. Interestingly, I too have had to sort through the mess of my early life and consider how those things shaped me.

    In the end I have landed in an historic expression of mere-Christianity and have found it very helpful. Thanks for your book.

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  9. Thanks for your comments. I think there are a lot of people in our shoes. I hope is that book would help cut off some of the journey or make it a little less painful and lonesome for some.

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