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!
3 thoughts on “Real Books for Life”
Preach it sister!I must admit that I visited a big 'Christian' bookstore for the first time in many months recently. Thankfully I felt a little less uncomfortable than I have during previous visits.It still saddens me that many Christians are so keen to consume such 'spiritual junk food', but I'm learning to walk past the shelves and shelves of 'be a better you' type books and all the 'fish and dove products' to find something a little more substantial.
How good is the bible! The problem with all these books is that stacks of them make us focus on ourselves, and about how awesome we are or could be! The bible is great cause it focuses on how awesome God is and what a great privilege to be part of His plans!The challenge is to read it rather than think about how hard it is to read it (I find at least).
Hi Shona,Found your blog through facebook, and love this post! I don't believe God intends our lives to be easy. In fact we should expect to suffer, in order to share in Christ's sufferings, and I agree with your frustration at the volume of Christian self-help literature. I just read Lamentations yesterday. After lots of description of all the terrible things happening in Israel, the writer says (3v21-24): But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion" says my soul, "Therefore I will hope in him".