I related to Bethke's sentiments about how the church does seem unwelcoming and has made its own culture-not that independent culture is a bad thing. However, when the focus becomes on earning salvation and on making the Bible about how God helped the heroes-who were already ideal-the message is lost. God took those heroes, flaws and all, and helped them to become better people. And I think that important distinction isn't always in place. I know I never learned that. For example, in Sunday School, the whale swallows Jonah because he is facing the wrath of God. According to the story, Jonah realized he was wrong and jumped in the water. God had the fish (not whale fyi) swallow him, most likely to get him to the Sin City of his day. God's love is not conditional. God loves you, no matter if you are a believer or not.
Also, as the author blatantly states, alcohol is not a sin. The sin is being extremely drunk. (I haven't found anything going against marijuana either. If you find one, be sure to tell me.)
Basically this book expressed my feelings far more eloquently (and probably just all around better) than I ever could.
Last week, the friend and I were talking about religion. I admitted to the fact that I'm not a big fan of organized religion, but I love Jesus. She informed me that, technically speaking, being a follower of Jesus does not necessarily make you religious, but neither does being religious always mean you are a follower of Christ.