Book Review: Fundamorphosis

fundamorphosis_Book_Cover-208x300How could he know? That question surfaced in my mind over and over again as I read Robb Ryerse’s new book, Fundamorphosis. How could someone I never met, who lives many miles away, who has an entirely different background than me, who is a Brown’s fan for crying out loud– how could such a person experience nearly the same kind of transformation that I have been going through? The answer is straightforward: God is transforming cocooned Christians in our generation.

One of the most important take-aways from Robb’s book for me is the need for each generation of Christians to seek out and embrace ourselves, our God and our theology in the sea of change. Fundamorphosis challenges us to go beyond a “receive and believe” approach.

A new journey, connected to the past

bf6-150x150Throughout history, Christianity has been represented by various symbols. Each generation has struggled to understand the words of Jesus and the Bible authors. We have much to learn from them. The cross was the first symbol, and remains the most important. The fish was used early on, no doubt due to the fishermen Jesus called.

Robb does not dismiss the early tradition and rich history of Christianity. In fact, he points us toward such things, with the hope of instilling a new desire for satisfaction from our Christian faith. At the same time, Fundamorphosis is an invitation to find a new identity. The identity of the butterfly, and the related metamorphosis process, captures the essence of what God through the Holy Spirit is doing around the world today. I say this with confidence based on my own transformation out of my own cocoon of evangelicalism and based on thousands of online and in-person conversations with Christians from around America and around the world.

The power of Fundamorphosis lies not in introducing some “new theology” or a “better system of answers”, but in capturing one man’s transformation out of a static, burned-out, joyless Phariseeism and into a vibrant, ever-changing Christ-followership.

Love and hope, not apostasy

bf4-150x150Immediately I could sense Robb’s love for those who “believe with certitude” the tenants of fundamentalist Christianity. Unlike others in our generation, Robb does not condemn fundamentalist Christians. Instead, Robb tells the story of his own journey. At one point he declares: “I still love the church”.

Robb is on an amazing journey, but he has not given up on church. With grace and careful thought, Robb invites all of us to a deeper faith, a more flexible commitment and a broader inclusion of people. Fundamorphosis is filled with words of hope and life and joy from beginning to end. It may be that many will read his book secretly (Kindle is a good way for that :) Those who do will surely find love, not judgement or dismissiveness.

Sharing the pain and struggle

“We wrestled with what to do. We contemplated what it would take for us to be agents of change within our church.” (Fundamorphosis, location 367, Kindle Edition)

Just as a caterpillar might wonder what is happening as the cocoon spins around it, Robb is candid with his and his family’s struggle. His transformation was not without a “dark night of soul”. With vivid memories interwoven into his narrative, Robb gives us a real look into his struggles. Such vulnerability is much needed today.

A journey of self discovery

“Doubt actually frees me to admit that I don’t have all the answers and that I can’t figure it all out. And when I am willing to admit this truth about myself, I experience a true hope.” (location 949, Kindle Edition)

One of the threads throughout Fundamorphosis is Robb’s personal self discovery journey, a journey that includes both doubt and faith. St. Augustine’s prayer regarding “self” and “God” is certainly true.


Fundamorphosis is a snapshot of what God is doing in our generation. These are not times of doom and gloom, but one of the most exciting and hopeful times in all history. Thank you Robb for articulating the essence of what the Spirit has been teaching me and for expressing what is on the minds of many! And perhaps what we all need is a fundamorphosis. Isn’t that a big part of the discipleship Jesus invites us to? We may study the bible for thousands of hours every year. But has all that study lead us into a deep, personal, relational, missional, ecumenical, communal transformation because of the amazing, effervescent, joyful, all-surpassing glory and hope of the new wine Jesus is offering?


  1. Thanks for sharing this, BK. Don’t you think that this sounds quite like James Danaher’s perspective in Eyes That See, Ears That Hear?

    According to Danaher and others, modernism has caused much of the Church to absolutely believe what they believe to be the Truth, and then applying what they believe on others. They mistake their own conception of belief in the Truth for the Truth. They cling to their own brand of belief with absolute tenacity as though their brand of the truth is the absolute truth and the only truth. This creates Phariseeism that just makes Christianity, Christians and the Church reek with stench, and come across like intolerant, self-righteous, sanctimonious jerks. I know because I lived like this for a quarter of a century!

    Such an image of Christians is virtually the opposite of Christ who is always gentle and humble in heart (Mt 11:29), and always condescending himself before others (Phil 2:6-8).

    • Mark Mederich

      HALLELUJAH! now we see the mistake too often made in religion…

  2. Yes Ben, Robb writes from the same faith fabric that Danaher does, and I simply love it!

    At the time I read Robb’s book in 2012, I was not processing the Trinity or analyzing these thoughts. I was just absorbing the rich essence of what Robb was saying as my soul healed knowing that someone experienced the same kind of transformation I was going through. It was great to connect with Robb on Facebook and participate in his blog review book launch.

    I think I need to read this book again and analyze it.

    Someone asked me to share some thoughts on Robb’s part of the book about the Trinity (which is a large theme in this book). So here are some key quotes that stand out to me now about the Trinity (around location 1914 in Kindle edition).

    “For generations Christians have struggled to find the right analogy to help express their trinitarian faith. Many analogies and word pictures have been told and retold in sermons and Sunday school classes. We have been told that the Trinity is like the different states of water (solid, liquid, gas) or like the three parts of an egg (shell, white, yolk). These word pictures just haven’t resonated with me for a long time. But one does now. It is the analogy of a song. To have music, you have to have a source, somewhere from which the music comes. You also have to have a score, the notes that make up the song. And to have music, you have to have the sound. The Father is the source. The Son is the score. The Spirit is the sound. God is one and three, at the same time, but not in the same way.”

    “Historic, orthodox Christian theology has always affirmed that the oneness of God refers to a unity in divine essence and purpose. There is one divine character. The attributes of God are shared by all members of the trinitarian community. In terms of essence and purpose, that which can be said about one member of the Trinity can be said of all the members of the Trinity. God is just. God is holy. God is merciful. God is present. God is one. The threeness of God refers to the actions of the members of the Trinity. Each member of the trinitarian community functions in harmonious yet distinct ways. When we unreflectively pray, “Dear heavenly Father, thank you for dying on the cross for us,” or when the logo of our ministry is a dove, symbolic of the Spirit, on a cross, we are failing to recognize the diversity in the unity that is God.”