Stuff I’m Reading…Err…Listening To…
In a continuing effort to keep the world updated about my reading habits, I now bring you the newest finished book in my collection. Before I go into the book, I have to say that I actually did not read this book, but I downloaded the audio version from Christian Audio. They make a free audio book available for download once a month and this was July’s freebie. You may see “Stuff I’m Reading” books corresponding to their free book of the month more often.
I just want to go on the record by saying “Crazy Love” was a lot better than I expected. I’ve seen it on the bookshelves of Christian bookstores for at least a year or more and had sortof written it off as the kind of book that would last a few weeks and fade in everyone’s memory. The whole book looked like it was written to get a sale but not change anyone. It took a recommendation from (I think) Frank Viola before I would actually read the book. Who would ever believe that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover?
The first thing I loved about this book was the time that Francis Chan spent delving into attributes of God at the beginning of the book. Most modern books present a problem and then tell you how to fix it. Chan takes us into the character of God before he takes us anywhere and I believe that is part of the reason this book is so successful. In a way, this section reminded me of the book “The Knowledge of the Holy” by A.W. Tozer, but it’s written in a way that would move the heart of any college student. Because the remainder of the book calls the church to action, Chan spends the first three chapters describing a God worthy to act on. The book succeeds because it’s not a response to a problem but a response to God as He really is.
Chan then spends the next several chapters looking at what it looks like to not be moved by God in an appropriate manner. Unfortunately, we find more of ourselves in these chapters than we care to admit. The chapter entitled “Profile of the Lukewarm” was probably the hardest chapter of the book to listen to because it challenged me at a very deep level. Chan takes a look at a number of “religious people” in the Old and New Testament who thought they had it all together but really had no relationship with God.
I think a lot of people who read/listen to this chapter and the following chapter could very easily get offended because in a lot of ways it challenges what most of us feel satisfied with in our religious lives. But because Chan packs these chapters with biblical truth and an unfolding of God’s character from the earlier chapters, his observations make sense. There will still be many who will be offended as they read and my hope is that their offense will lead them to go back to the Bible and decide if what Chan is saying is true. This may be the beginning of some of us, including me, waking up.
From there Chan begins to unpack what it looks like to be moved by love for the God he described in the first few chapters. This is the “practical” section of the book where he begins to describe his journey and the journey others took to change their lifestyle to match what they see in scripture. My favorite chapter of this section is “Who Really Lives That Way.” Most books like this one leave you feeling like you could never do what the author suggests. But Chan introduces you to person after person who has lived radically for Jesus. Some of these people are from a century or so ago but most of them are still alive today. The beauty of this chapter is that most of the people he describes are not famous. They don’t even think they are special. They are all just changing their lives to respond to the God they have fallen in love with. If you want to get a picture of what that looks like, I highly suggest you read this book.
If I have one beef with the book, I would have loved to see more of Chan’s personal story to see how these things have been worked out in his life. While he doesn’t give us the whole story, he does give us quick glimpses. They are helpful, but I think readers would profit from a more personal perspective to encourage them that they can live whole-heartedly as well. I’m convinced from his writing that his life has significantly changed… I was just looking for more than a snapshot here or there.
But the book was a great read listen and I would highly recommend that if you have a chance, you pick up this book. I have to say I was moved by this book and am seriously rethinking some different aspects of my life, especially how I relate to the poor of the Earth. Chan provides one of the most balanced arguments for Christians living their lives differently that I’ve seen in a book in a long time. It will challenge you for the better. And, if you want more when you’re done, you can hop on over to Christian Audio and listen to his new book “Forgotten God” by clicking here.
[Btw, if you’ve read “Crazy Love” and have thoughts of your own, either leave a link to your review in the comment section or leave your thoughts in the comment box below.]