Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dirty God, by Johnnie Moore

"Jesus didn't just send a message to man through yet another prophet.  Instead, he dropped a staircase from heaven so that he can walk with us, touch us, talk to us, feel like we feel, hurt as we hurt, struggle as we struggle, and eventually help us get to where we ought to be - in the presence of God again."  ~ Johnnie Moore
Dirty God, by Johnnie Moore, strives to introduce its readers to the human side of Jesus.  No longer just a holy man to be viewed and worshipped from a distance,  Jesus becomes the man of the people... someone who walked the walk, got down in the trenches, and got his hands dirty.  A man who mingled and loved and befriended the lowest members of society, and a man who modeled exactly the sort of behavior he expected from us as his followers.

With a casual and conversational style, Moore talks to us about the meaning of grace, in a way that I don't think I've ever seen before.  He strips down the gospel to its core, and reminds us of its simple and profound truth:  Jesus was a man who brought grace for His people, who wants us to let go of our own hindrances, pick up our own crosses, and follow him... no matter where He may lead.

I really enjoyed this book, and found its message both relatable and inspiring.  While the biblical information it contained was not exactly anything new, it was presented in a fresh and unique way, making it perfect to reach new and seeking believers, or just those who are feeling stagnant in their faith.    Dirty God takes you beyond mere Christianity, into what it really means to follow Christ.

"God expects us to get our own hands dirty just as he dirtied his own.  He wants to meet us - not in the sacntuary but in the slums.  Where hopelessness resides is where the rivers of grace are meant to flow most freely.  God doesn't save us so that we can soak in religion but so that we can go out and spread his love to the masses.... He wants us out in the world, determined to bring change to it."

I received this book for free from the BookSneeze program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

North of Hope, by Shannon Huffman Polson

"I wasn't sure whether I'd come to this wild space to find myself or lose myself, or whether I had the capacity for either."  ~ Shannon Huffman Polson

North of Hope tells the true story of Shannon Huffman Polson, whose father and step mother were tragically killed by bears while rafting and camping in the remote Alaskan Arctic.  Ms Polson decides to undergo a life-changing journey, both figuratively and literally, by leaving her home in Seattle and traveling to the Arctic to re-trace her father's steps.  She writes in great detail about both the trip and her emotional experiences in coming to terms with the loss while she's there, as well as weaving in back story all throughout the book.

The author has a lovely, almost poetic, style of writing, and the book is very rich in vivid imagery.   I truly felt like I was experiencing the journey with her, as her descriptions of both the Alaskan wilderness and her mental state at the time were clear, specific, and painstakingly transcribed.  The emotional anguish of the trip was palpable, especially in the latter quarter of the book, as she gets closer and closer to the spot where her father camped and ultimately died.

Unfortunately, the book's strength proved to be a weakness as well.  At times the detail was so great and so lengthy that it bogged the book down, and made certain sections drag unnecessarily.  I found myself reading with great interest on minute, and then skimming the next. 

However, as it was by all accounts a very intimate and personal story, it doesn't seem too fair to nitpick its delivery.   This was her journey, and I admire her strength and tenacity in both choosing to take it at all, and then so beautifully sharing it with others.

*I received this book from Zondervon and Handlebar Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.*