As I was browsing in my local Christian bookstore the other day, I began to feel a little overwhelmed at the sheer volume of books, DVDs, and audio books all supposedly designed to ‘help’ me become a better Christian and to live a ‘better’ Christian life; titles ranging from “Tree-pruning in the Spirit” to “Cast out demons while working out “! OK, so I exaggerate a little, but there really are an awful lot of suspect titles out there, not to mention the perfectly-coiffed, smiling men and women on the covers.
Now don’t get me wrong I am all for living my life to the max, and I think most Christians are. In fact do you think anyone actually gets up in the morning and consciously says, “Today I’m going to live my worst life”? But, the bottom line is that S@#* happens even (and maybe especially) to Christians. There are times in our lives when we hit rock bottom for many different reasons; in fact I did exactly that just twelve months ago!
During that time when life was tough and the days felt particularly dark, well-meaning friends would recommend Christian books that provided a formula in several steps for how to pick myself up and get back on track. The fact is that those books made me feel even worse and even more of a loser. What I really needed to know at that time was that I wasn’t the only one who was struggling, that there were others walking a similar path. Thank God that there was one book that I could turn to! The Bible is full of characters that are real, honest and vulnerable. Wise one minute, stupid the next characters that God was able to use despite their failings!
But back to my visit to the book store – I did buy a book by one of my favourite authors whose writing also helped me during my darker moments. His name is Adrian Plass and the book is called “Jesus – Safe, Tender, Extreme”. I like Adrian’s writing because he is real and authentic and says it like it is – and he doesn’t have big hair and perfect teeth!