08 February 2010

crazy love

Francis Chan, Crazy Love (Colorado Springs: Cook, 2008).

There are times when one must be careful when being recommended a book too many times. There are many occasions in life when everyone seems to be thrusting a book into your hands that either 1) it gets overhyped to the point where no book could live up, or 2) it is overly recommended because it is so shallow to have no transformative force whatsoever - it is a stupid book. I have seen both to be true.

I was fearful that this was going to be one of those books, especially after breezing through the first couple of chapters. What kept me going was the author's own admission that the opening section was foundational, thus giving me the interest to keep going. In the end, Chan gives us a solid introduction to what it means to live out the kingdom of God.

The book itself is written at an accessible level, sometimes a bit too simplistic to be captivating, but probably in a good place for the intended readership. While books such as these often try and reinvent the gospel wheel so much that they end up making absurd assertions and half-baked proposals, Chan offers a solid primer to true discipleship. Indeed, there is much to learn from this little volume once one begins to take the demands of faith seriously. And that appears to be the main crux of the book - what it might look like if Christians but feet to their faith rather than simply talking about how spiritual they have become.

I would recommend this read for Christians who are tired of being average, but not to those who have no interest in leaving comfortability. Because the two cannot be connected in a healthy spiritual walk. To follow Christ is to give all things at all times, and this book helps to direct the reader this way. This is not for those who are wanting a Christianity that gives more than it demands . . . that is lifeless spirituality.

The greatest chapter of the book is 'Who Really Lives That Way?' (ch. 9). Here the author simply relays fourteen stories of those who have committed to live in radical obedience to the gospel. Some are well-known, others are 'never-heard-ofs' - but all are kingdom-oriented lives given totally to God. It is the greatest chapter of the book because it is not Chan's narrative, but God's . . . who does more than we could ever ask or imagine.

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