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Zach Bartels

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Kinda Christianity: A Generous, Fair, Organic, Free-Range Guide to Authenti
by Zach Bartels   

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Books by Zach Bartels
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Publisher:  Gut Check Press ISBN-10:  0615364977 Type: 


Copyright:  Apr 1, 2010 ISBN-13:  9780615364971

A short satire of the Emergent Church movement.

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Kinda Christianity Homepage

What Would Christianity Look Like If We Were All College Sophomores?

"So you're ready to take the plunge. Ready to translate your quest into action! Without defining yourself, and certainly without boxing yourself into one particular rigid way of doing theology or church, you're ready to become emergent. You have a username and clever screen name picked out at Emergent Village(tm), and maybe you've even begun having church in an empty warehouse in the industrial sector of your city. If so, good for you! But those are just the first, baby steps in your journey (your dance, if you will) into Kinda Christianity. This book will help you along the rest of your uniquely creative path to super-terrific self-discovery." -From the Introduction

For exceprts, study guide, etc., go to

Professional Reviews

Gut Check Press founders release startup publishing company's first book
By Ann Byle | The Grand Rapids Press

Ted Kluck and Zach Bartels look, on the outside, like average Joe Christians. Except for the cigars. The sardonic smiles. The publishing company they started called Gut Check Press. Except, maybe, for its first release, a satire called “Kinda Christianity: A Generous, Fair, Organic Free-Range Guide to Authentic Realness” ($7.99) written by the pair.

Kluck is author of “Why We’re Not Emergent” and “Why We Love the Church” (with Kevin DeYoung) and several sports books including “Paper Tiger: One Athlete’s Journey to the Underbelly of Pro Football,” which won a Michigan Notable Book Award in 2008. Bartels is pastor of Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Lansing.

These two 30-somethings have battled the emergent movement and its proponents such as Brian McLaren on their blogs and in their books. This time, however, they decided to bypass Christian publishers — another one of their favorite targets — and start their own company to publish their book.

“Gut Check Press was birthed out of our frustration with traditional Christian publishing,” said Kluck, who has books through Moody Publishing. “We got frustrated with waiting around, frustrated with not getting people on the phone. We decided while we’re waiting to create something of our own.”

‘Kinda Christianity’

Ted Kluck and Zach Bartels will discuss and sign copies of their new book:

When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Baker Book House, 2768 East Paris Ave. SEor call Michael Lomonaco at 745-6447.

Gut Check Press has several core values: no feasibility studies, no committee meetings and no attending conferences. There is a lot of laughter, sitting in basements, designing T-shirts.

Bartels designed the logo, did the website, created illustrations and did the page design. Kluck does a lot of the writing.

“Gut Check Press hardly cost anything to get off the ground,” said Kluck. “We use print-on-demand technology and the marketing is organic, a word I hate from the emergent movement. No part of this hasn’t been enjoyable.”

“Kinda Christianity” is a satirical look at the rules of belonging to the emergent movement.

A peek inside

Fashion: “I can’t overstate how important your T-shirt collection is. The very future of your ministry depends on it.”

Personal Grooming: “It’s important that you don’t shave, because shaving is for lame corporate people who do things like get regular paychecks and go to work in offices.”

Worship Space: “It’s important that your church not look anything like a church ... It should look more like an abandoned meat-packing plant, complete with lots of exposed brick and ductwork.”

Internet Space: “It’s important to blog so that people can be exposed to your innermost feelings on a regular basis and then have the opportunity to remind you how open-minded, kind-hearted and fabulous you are.”

Theology: “At the end of the day, the best thing about Kinda Christianity is that you are in control of the Bible because you get to decide which parts really count and what they really mean. You’re no longer shackled by context, authorial intent, or reality! How freeing is that?”

“The purpose of the book is not to foster dialogue or encourage anyone, but to make people laugh,” said Bartels. “It’s a total parody. Emergent writers can say whatever they want and there is no accountability. But those who are writing polemics against the emergent movement are so academic. Our idea is to say whatever we want and show its absurdity without having to be all academic or worry about tenure. We are the guys who don’t have anything to lose.”

Bartels and Kluck plan to publish more books through Gut Check Press, though at the moment are accepting manuscripts only from themselves. There’s a novel in the works, a cookbook and a book for men called “Man School.” Gut Check recently acquired the audio rights to two of Kluck’s sports books.

“We want to publish books your mom wouldn’t like, that are too edgy for the middle-aged women running publishing, “ said Kluck.

Added Bartels: “From an internal perspective, we’ve learned a lot. We got a little capital, we’re having fun and we’re going forward.”

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