…review of Barefoot Church…

First off, I want to start this review by saying that I am honored to be able to preview and review Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker.  A while back I noticed a tweet by him asking if anyone would like to review his book before it came out and I jumped at the opportunity.  About a week later the book showed up in the mail and I was pumped to be able to start pouring over it.

I was not sure what to expect when I began to read Brandon Hatmaker’s book.  It was his first book, it was my first time really becoming acquainted with him, and also the first time I read some of the kinds of material/information/thoughts that are in a book like this.

Brandon doesn’t hold back on what he believes should be at the core of the modern day New Testament church – serving the neglected.  He lays out his belief through honest, written conviction and verses and stories straight out of scripture.  I mean honestly, how can you argue with that? :)

I’ve been on a journey as of late redefining what scripture claims that “discipleship” really is. I was pleased and excited to see that Brandon touched on this – which only helped me think more on the subject.  On page 109 he wrote, “The problem with our current forms of discipleship is not necessarily found in what we do well; its found in what we’ve neglected.”  I found that to be strikingly insightful because we, as a church culture, usually try and fix what we are already doing.  We spend hours upon hours searching for a solution to something that might not even be a problem. Instead, it might behoove us to try and figure out what we may be lacking.

If the only thing that I read in the whole book was the first sentence on page 127, it still would have been worth it for me.  The sentence is very short, but reads as follows: “It is risky to be different in the church.”  Many of us out there have have felt that prompting.  We have wanted to step out, risk something, challenge the system, and just plain ask “Why?”  However, we often fear what the response will be.  This sentence along only encouraged and challenged me to live the life in response the Gospel that I feel God has always been, and always will, be calling me to.

One of the last things that I thoroughly enjoyed about the book was the Brandon did was that he encouraged you to seek the Spirit’s help in figuring out what your family’s, or church’s, or your own next step might be.  He gives examples of what you could do, or what Austin New Church did.  But in the end he tells you that you need to figure it out.

I think many times we can read a conclusion in a book, and convince ourselves that “Oh, that will never work with me.  I couldn’t possibly do something as drastic as that.”  And that will ease our conscience until the Spirit brings that topic back up in front of us.  But every Christian has the ability, and responsibility, to ask the question: “God, what do you want of me?”

Brandon, thank you for the challenging words, the stories, shedding light on scripture, and risking to bring a message that isn’t very popular yet in the western church.  I appreciate it more than you know.

(I received this book for free from Brandon Hatmaker and  Zondervan Publishing for this review.)

…Jesus, party of 2…

By the title alone I was caught off guard and very curious.  I thought “Man, what would it be like to actually sit down and have a meal with Jesus in 2011?”  This thought alone was enough to draw me in and pick the book to review.

The only problem was that this meal ended up not being much like what I had pictured in my mind.  Now that is not to say that I think that I could plan what a meal like Jesus would actually be like.  But I would have never guessed that it would go any way like what Gregory portrayed.

The first two chapters were a quaint, easy read.  But once the meal got going between Jesus and Nick Jesus turned into an Apologetics Seminary Professor.  Now I’m not saying that Jesus wouldn’t use any kind of apologetic argument if he had a meal with someone.  But I think He would talk about other things.  But all Jesus did was go over apologetic argument after another.

Frankly, this is what was disappointing for me.  Once Jesus started doing this I knew that the rest of the book was going to follow this pattern – which it did.

In my opinion/belief, the Jesus that I know wouldn’t need to argue a case for Himself.  In fact when Peter rose up to try and fight for His case, Jesus rebuked the man.  Jesus doesn’t need to bolster who He is.  He simply is who He is and no more is needed.

I appreciate the thought of the book a lot, but not the way in which Gregory went about with it.  Sorry.

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)

…i know one church i won’t be going to…

In my opinion, you will either like this book or you won’t.  I think I myself fall on the the like it side of the coin.

I liked this book because it tells a story and the story is one of a kid who was trying to figure out and follow Jesus the best that he knew how, but was just being taught how to in a whacked out and weird way.

The book takes you on a nostalgic walk through Matthew’s past.  It starts around the time that his family begins going to a fundamentalist church when he was a child and takes you up to present day.  He is extremely honest about what he experienced at this particular church and how it affected him.

One of the things that caught me off guard about the way that he wrote is that if you didn’t read the book carefully you could think that every fundamentalist church out there was this way.  While that possibility might exist, it doesn’t necessarily have to be true.  I’m sure that there are some crazy fundamentalists out there along with some really great fundamentalists.

He gives the names of some of the people in his past and gets to the point where he is very telling about them and honest about his opinion of them.  The only caution that I would give is that just because you feel a certain way about a situation or people doesn’t mean that you should write all your thoughts down because it may not be what builds up the church.  Turner might be guilty of that from time to time in the book.

But all in all I enjoyed it and don’t regret reading it.  If you have time, you should too.

(I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.)