Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Recommended Read - Crazy Love by Francis Chan

Non-fiction. Published, 2008.

Our entire church family was encouraged to read Crazy Love during the season of Lent. To implement this, many small groups met to discuss it on weekdays and Pastor used it as a launching pad for his Sunday messages.

I read it along with most of the congregation, and I appreciated it. However, I’ve struggled with a review.

Francis Chan’s story will grab your attention. As a child he lost his mother, his step-mother, his father, and then his only remaining relatives—an uncle and aunt. His life wasn’t happy before those things happened, and the deaths were traumatic.

But God met him. And he has a message for Christians who live lives of relative ease: Get with it! Begin to follow God through personal commitment and sacrifice. Respond to God’s call by living out the Gospel on a daily basis.

Chan is hard on church-goers. I should mention that portions of the book offended some in the congregation.

I generally agreed with him on those portions. I think we do get comfortable in our pleasant lifestyle and fail to take God’s challenges seriously.

And yet I had problems with the book.

A chance statement by someone who was not discussing the book opened my thought process—and I understood why I was troubled. Because it is important and subtle, I can’t review the book without mentioning it. Chan didn’t talk about hearing the Holy Spirit or responding to God’s personal call.

I feel Christians need to hear from God. If we do something just to do something, we’ll spin our wheels, so to speak, and accomplish very little. On the other hand, if we do some small thing because God has led us to that point, we’ll accomplish something—perhaps even a great deal because God will use it in ways we can’t imagine.

In all fairness, Chan’s story demonstrates that he is guided by the Holy Spirit—and that he follows God’s personal leading. It’s unfair to judge a book by what isn’t emphasized, especially when it's part of the story. Perhaps he felt the aspect of a personal call was outside the scope of this book. And, on a positive note, the church responded remarkably to the message. (But that’s not the focus of a review.)

So, do I recommend Crazy Love?

Yes. Chan points out problems in Christians or church-goers and in churches, something we need to recognize. He challenges people to respond to God by serving others. He does this against the backdrop of his own story. The life-story of this man is enough in itself to make the book worth reading. His message will touch you, too.

I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and TEstimonials in Advertising."


Lyla Lindquist said...

Thanks for this review. This book has had an impact on me as well. Chan speaks with a great deal of credibility -- he lives what he speaks.

I read the book some time ago and we also recently had an adult study on it at my church. Some folks had a few concerns with a particular theological drift, but we got through it.

It's funny that he does give little attention to the Holy Spirit in the text, particularly given his follow up book, which is all about the work of the Holy Spirit (Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit). It's on my list but I haven't had a chance to crack it open yet. I've read a few reviews, and it seems it should be a good one as well.

You'll have to tell us what you think if you read it.

Solveig said...

I didn't know about Chan's second book--but looked for it on Amazon this morning and read quite a few reviews. It sounds good, and it probably fills in what he didn't mention the first time around. I also learned he has left his church to follow his "leadings." His entire story is interesting.

L.L. Barkat said...

I don't know why I couldn't read this book. Just couldn't. Maybe I'm too fussy. :) That's probably it.

Ah, but for the non-fussy, I see a few treasures awaited. :)

Solveig said...

It's probably good to be fussy, and I understand why this book could be off-putting. In fact, I've decided that with all the reading materials available, we have to be selective.

So I'm honored by your visit. Thanks for stopping.