I am reading a book right now. Correction. I am studying a book right now. I am digesting a book right now. I am absorbing a book right now.....
The book is called crazy love. It is written by Francis Chan.
I have a pretty short attention span and very high standards for this genre of literature...most of this results from the commercial manipulation of my faith. I have been in very few Christian bookstores and browsed very few church foyer tables where I did not feel a sourness in my stomach.
However, this hesitation toward commercial-Christian literature is starting to dissolve thanks to some quality recommendations from strong friends who are also pursuing the truth of Christianity and the prize of a genuine faith.
Chan's work came to me through many channels. Five friends and a sister encouraged me to "check out the book crazy love", and their recommendation was usually followed by some variation of the statement: "It's awesome."
And so far I would have to agree....though I am not sure that word sums up the experience completely.
I am in the middle of the book, and honestly, it is kicking my butt. I do not want to post a review or a summary...not yet...so I will not get into the specific reasons for my diagnosis of defeat, but Chan does not dance around his central issue, the central issue facing the Christian Church today.
We are not doing our job. As mirrors of God, the majority of us--95.674% of us--are cloudy and foggy at best. At worst we are not mirrors at all....
My mind still reels when I try to understand the perfectly coincidental timing of my studying this book. God has been testing me lately, as best I can discern anyway. Who am I to know the workings of the Creator? But I have felt Him pursuing me. I have seen His Spirit in my surroundings, heard His whisper in my searching. He has been drawing me closer to Him: through fire, through peace, through glory and shame. It truly has been remarkable to witness.
Enter the urgent message of the book.
Basically, in an incredibly powerful and Biblical manner, Chan urges his readers to truthfully examine the nature of their faith. Honestly and seriously consider the lengths we are willing to go for the God of the Universe and the Savior of our Lives and the Comforter of our Souls.
He blatantly and unashamedly proposes the idea that most Christians (especially and specifically in America) are stagnant, complacent, apathetic, habitual followers of tradition and social morality.
He throws accusations and challenges like arrows, and they would not hurt if they were not so well-targeted.
It is as if God has been working in me to this moment...testing and strengthening my faith and my spirit for this very encounter with His great purpose for my life. He has ordered my steps, and I find myself facing this new challenge, this all-or-nothing lifestyle designed to bring Him glory.
Why is it so hard to surrender? Why is it so difficult to let go? Why do my lips speak every phrase with ease, but struggle violently to even whisper, "not my will, but thine be done"?
My pride and my spirituality are taking a beating. My idea of a godly life is being redefined. My understanding of God's desire for me is changing dramatically. And I do not attest these things to Mr. Chan because his voice is secondary to the voice of God's Truth. Scriptures abound in the book, which is one of the reasons I have taken the truths presented to heart and not dismissed them as opinion. I fully believe that God is working through the words of his servant, and God's work sometimes hurts. The truth sometimes hurts. But He promised it would set.us.free.
I feel a crossroads approaching, if I have not already arrived, where I must make a conscious decision to move forward or succumb to insincerity and fear and allow myself to be taken downstream.
Give me strength, Father. I want to want a life of sacrifice. I desire to desire nothing else. My spirit and my flesh are both weak....