One book explores what church means, another its connection to recovery

"The Point of Church: And Why It Should Matter to You" by Steven Weems. Resource Publications (Eugene, Oregon, 2021). 120 pp., $16.

"Why Can't Church Be More Like an AA Meeting? And Other Questions Christians Ask About Recovery" by Stephen R. Haynes. Wm. B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2021). 240 pp., $19.99.

First, a heads-up for Catholic readers: The author of "The Point of Church" is a Baptist minister and pastor in Alabama. Second heads-up: Don't worry about it.

The Rev. Steven Weems knows what he's talking about and, for the most part, he uses language and concepts Catholics will -- or at least should -- have no problem with.

As Rev. Weems declares, there's "a perfectly logical reason millions of people attend worship services around the world every week." He also offers "a compelling reason why you and your loved ones should be actively involved in a local church family."

"The Point of Church" explains what "church" does and does not mean. Catholic readers will find this chapter not so much wrong as incomplete. Whether he knows it or not, Rev. Weems embraces the Catholic image of the church as the people of God.

As a Baptist, however, he naturally does not include a sacramental view of what "church" means. He comments that when his community "take(s) the Lord's Supper" they distribute small "crackers" and grape juice that "represent the body of Jesus that was broken on the cross."