Friday, March 15, 2013

Booksneeze review: Dirty God

Dirty God by Johnnie Moore

(from Booksneeze)
In Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches, Johnnie Moore draws on both Scripture and his extensive experience with other cultures and religions to show how the God of the Bible is unique in his willingness to be near us in all of our messiness. Moore outlines the central importance of the doctrine of grace while introducing readers to a humble and human Jesus who reaches out to us at our worst and pulls us up to our best.

Grace, Moore argues, is something that is both gotten and given, and the two-part structure of the book allows readers to explore both of these dynamics. By offering hope rather than condemnation and showing the practical applications of grace in today’s world, Dirty God will appeal to both the committed Christian and the spiritual seeker looking for a more authentic faith. Challenging and engaging, Dirty God is sure to establish Johnnie Moore as an emerging voice for Millennial and Gen-X evangelicals for years to come.

My Thoughts:

I've procrastinated a lot in writing this post.  Even now, I think I would rather be cleaning than writing this...and I hate to clean.  I really want to give this book a good review.  I mean, it's about grace - getting it from God and giving it to others.  I'm supposed to like a book on grace, aren't I?  But there are parts of it that I just can't agree with.  Certain quotes I love, but others leave me wondering.

Can I give a positive review if I only liked half of the book?

Let's start with the good things.  I thought the first half of the book was great.  Moore gives a new perspective of Jesus' time here on earth and his gift of grace to us.  He provides insight into how people, like lepers, really would have lived and what it really meant for Jesus to touch them.  The personal stories that Moore uses from his days as a missionary and from his current travels around the world are spot-on, relevant and entertaining at the same time.

Some quotes I loved:
"God has a track record for giving grace to rookie leaders..."
"...most of the great the other religions of the world have become famous by their perfection....Yet Jesus taught us that his Father was the kind of God who picked regular people and then used them in powerful ways despite their imperfections."
"Jesus cared little about impressing the important people.  He was too busy getting his hands messy with the regular ones..."

Now comes the negatives.  I just couldn't agree with some of the things he said in the second half of the book.  Don't get me wrong, I agree with the idea he has proposed: Christians need to give grace to others especially through meeting their daily needs.  But some specifics that he talked about didn't sit well with me.

Moore's definition of evil seems to be an entity apart from us that we can't help, not something that we, as sinful man, have chosen to do.  "It's evil when deficient self-esteem causes a young lady to give herself to every boy who gives her any attention..."  To me, that sounds like the self-esteem is to blame not the young lady.  Later, Moore talks about the entrance of evil into the world.  He starts out by relaying the ancient Greek story about Pandora opening the box of evil and unleashing it on the world.  Then he says "Whether it's the historical account of Eve in Eden sneaking a bite of the apple, or the myth of Pandora's curious mistake, there is one overarching conclusion...evil is real."  Huh?  He compares the truth of the Bible with a Greek myth and makes it sound like they were both valid ideas for evil entering the world.  I can't stand by that.

Apart from the theological differences that I had with the book, I also felt like I couldn't get a clear outline of his writing in my head.  Instead of feeling cohesive, the book felt more like a random collection of thoughts, more blog-like than book-like.

At the end of the book, Moore definitely gets on his soapbox and starts shooting out statistics left and right.  He mentions general ways we can change the world, but he specifically mentions the aid organization where he serves on the board.  While everyone has the write to promote their own organizations and passions, other choices that we as the reader could choose to help with, would have been greatly beneficial.

In the final chapter Moore expresses his hope that this book will be bookmarked and highlighted on e-readers everywhere to be referred to again and again.  And to be honest, I have 32 passages highlighted on my Kindle.  Some are highlighted because I love them, some because I totally disagree with them.  But, if nothing else, Dirty God made me think and made me search my Bible for answers.

If I were just rating the first half of the this book, I would give it five stars.  But I have to give an overall review.  This book earns

3 out of 5 stars

I received a complementary Kindle version of this book from the Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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