The State I’m In and the Book I Read

Hi, everyone. Happy New Year!

I know it’s been awhile—too long, really—since I posted anything. So let’s start the year off right, shall we?

I haven’t had many drastic changes going on personally, which I suppose is a good thing. However, there have been lots of little underlying things that have been building up, and one of them is reaching a boiling point: my church. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say I am tired and frustrated. I was feeling this way before, too, but after saying something to those in power, it seems like at every subsequent conversation with them, another Pandora’s box opens, showing me more and more reasons why I am so disappointed, exasperated, suspicious, cynical, and just sick of it all. And, of course, just in time to add an affirmative nod to my brewing feelings, comes this book: 

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I’ve been an Eldredge fan since I first read Waking the Dead about six years ago. He and Stasi have some great insights that are worth hearing. That being said, though, I feel like this is the most honest book he’s ever written. For instance, in the past, he seemed to hint at his views surrounding institutionalized Christianity, but he never seemed to stay there for long. I’m not sure if this was to avoid offending publishers, to avoid offending people, or if it just hadn’t ticked him off enough to get into yet. Whatever the case, in Beautiful Outlaw, he finally tell us how he really feels about it. He actually devotes a fair bit of chapter space to the issue, which I think is great. It’s nice to hear his passion for the hearts of people lead him to the point of potential offense and brutal honesty. We need more of that.Considering how things are going at my church these days, ldredge essentially underscoring my frustrations is both good and bad. Good because I realize maybe it’s not just me, and bad because this book is giving my already-rolling snowball of church cynicism a little extra push.

I also feel like this book is very basic. Many Eldredge books have similar themes: the heart belonging to Christ has been changed for the better, spiritual warfare, the attacks of Satan, etc. This book is different. This book is about the heart of Jesus that motivates us to come to Him in the first place. It’s the point from which all the other Ransomed Heart doctrine seems to originate. And, as much as I appreciate Eldredge’s insights into spiritual warfare and the like, it is nice to have a little change, even if it is just for this book.

The book itself is a good read. I would say a must-read, especially for someone who has grown up in church. Eldredge makes observations that I had never considered before. He, for the most part, is simply holding a magnifying glass to Scripture and letting Jesus leap off the pages Himself. At the end of the Epilogue, I actually found myself tearing up. Long story short, this will be another Eldredge favourite of mine. I inhaled it in one and a half days, and had to smile at the heads up in the Epilogue for those who had read through it in one sitting. I will try to go through it again a little more slowly, but I will also be sharing this book with friends.

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