This is probably one of the single most important books for a Christian to read today.
At least, I think so.
And I’ve read a lot of Christian Self Help Books.
About a year ago I decided enough was enough. I had had it. I wasn’t going to pick up another Christian Self Help Book again – at least … not for another year. And so I didn’t. But July marked a year and this book had been recommended to me by someone I trust and respect a lot. He had asked me to read it last fall – but I told him I was on a Self Help Book Sabbatical. Christian and All.
I’m so glad I waited until I was ready to hear what the book had to say. Until I was ready to hear what John Eldredge wanted to tell me. Until I was ready to hear what God wanted me to hear that is…. through John’s story and through John’s gifted teaching. There haven’t been many books that have touched my spirit since I walked away from reformed Christianity. When I discovered Calvinism and the reformed teachings – I thought I had found what I had been searching for because TULIP explained so much! It really did! So I latched right on! But the results were disastrous (I’ve yet to meet a happy Calvinist!!) and years later I found myself back at square one. Of course – I had learned a lot. I can’t say they were wasted years. I learned a LOT and for that – I’m thankful. But there was still something more…..
That’s what this book talks about. DESIRE. No…not sexual desire … though it does go into that a little bit. But he is talking more about our innermost desire to be who God made us to be. Who is it that God made you to be? And do you have the guts to let go and let God make you into that person?? Will you let your guard down and let your desire take over? That’s what he’s talking about.
From the book:
The modern church often teaches people to kill desire and calls that sanctification. “But,” Eldredge says, “Christianity is not an invitation to become a moral person. It is not a program for getting us in line or for reforming society. … At its core Christianity begins with an invitation to desire.”
“Killing desire may look like sanctification, but it’s really godlessness. Literally, our way of handling life without God.
“We hide our true desire and call it maturity. Jesus is not impressed. He points to the less sophisticated attitude of a child as a better way to live.”
It’s a really powerful book.
I really identified with John on a personal level. The way he talks about God – it’s a lot of the same things I’ve said about God – so I know I’m not crazy!! Or… at least.. I’m not the ONLY crazy one!! LOL!! I call God “Irony” and John calls Him “paradoxical”. I love it. I have had the same kind of moments that John has had – where something completely out of the blue blocks my life plans and you know – you just KNOW – that God has “thwarted your plans” …. because they weren’t HIS plans…and you know your life will be all the better for it…. but it still hurts…. and you still have to work through that with God.
It was refreshing to hear someone else say they took a year off from church. I took a year – or two – off from church (who’s counting??) and some of my friends just freaked out! Judged me. I mean REALLY judged me. If I said anything that was slightly heretical (based on their doctrinal standards) they would say, “This bad theological thinking is what happens when you stop going to church – this is the fruit of rebellion!!” (And if I wanted to I could quote from their blogs where they took their issues with me public.) Oh please!! God FORBID should we think for ourselves. I’m fairly certain God’s sense of self isn’t threatened by my “slightly heretical” thought processes that come and go depending on the season of my life. LOL! How insecure those people must be in their own faith that they were so threatened when I dared to step away from conformity and seek God on my own. GASP!
Ah! But here – John says, “Go for it!” So, Go for it and read the book!! It’s a MUST READ. Anyone who will openly say it’s OK to stop going to church, to just go read your Bible, talk with God, and rest in the Lord – and at the same time call God paradoxical and use the phrase “thwarting my plans” to describe things God has done to him….now that’s my kinda guy!