By Joe Gomez
One thing is for certain: there is no shortage of voices that are quick on the draw to rebuke the American Christian church.
From the inside and out, sermons are given, books are written, entire blogs are dedicated to challenging the current state of the church. The validity of each voice aside, no one can deny that something is off in the church these days and that we need something to wake us up.
“The goals of American Christianity are often a nice marriage, children who dont swear, and good church attendance,” Francis Chan writes in Crazy Love. “Taking the words of Christ literally and seriously is rarely considered. Thats for the ‘radicals’ who are ‘unbalanced’ and who go ‘overboard’. Most of us want a balanced life that we can control, that is safe, and that does not involve suffering.”
To be quite honest, I have to admit that a book capable of producing a quote like the one above makes me nervous. A book like that warrants extra effort to avoid it because page after page, I will be guilted into becoming whatever the authors view of a good Christian might be. Strangely though, the quote above is what made me immediately head out to the store and buy this book.
Chan writes with a straightforward and effective voice dedicated just to renewing our perspective and grasp of the character and heart of God and what should be our natural and uninhibited response to it. In what starts as a simple explanation of the gospel, this book quickly gets personal with a challenge to not change merely the actions of and products of your life, but the perspective and intentions that drive it.
The fundamental challenge that Chan offers is to replace a misunderstood fear of God with a “reverent intimacy,” so that the lives we live arent dutiful attempts to avoid angry lightning bolts, but responses to an overwhelming love. Crazy Love describes what our relationship with the Father should be like, and how we are missing it. Some provocative chapter titles include “You Might Not Finish This Chapter”, “Profiles of the Lukewarm”, “Serving Leftovers to a Holy God”, and “When You’re in Love”.
Crazy Love is gracefully and painlessly able to rip off the band-aid from the wounds that we have been covering with safe living and a quiet faith. The book is a short and quick read, but when the last page is turned, the book just doesnt seem to end.
The strong, yet loving, exhortation given by Chan resonates loudly in the life spent outside of church on Sunday mornings and challenges us to really live lives distinct from the world around us. Not just because “they” need to see the difference – not even because we need to see the difference – but because the love that God has gracefully given us deserves that kind of distinguishable response.
Without a hint of contentiousness, Francis Chan has authored his first book on what he believes the wake up call needs to say.
Francis Chan is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Ca. More information on and supplements to the book can be found at www.crazylovebook.com
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Joe loves life in Nashville, Tn and spends most of his days reading, writing, playing guitar, eating great food, and deepening himself in a dependence of the love of his heavenly Father. He blogs at: www.josephallyngomez.com.