Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Dug Down Deep" by Joshua Harris

Snack of Choice:
It’s a classic. The original Frosted Mini-Wheats. Except take the mini out of it. I like the big bite ones. The ones I grew up with and gave me the energy to be the student that I was always supposed to be.  At least that’s what the ad agency wanted me to believe.  

Story behind the Story:
Speaking of classics – this author’s previous work is a permanent fixture in the halls of classic Christian literature.  You know the one I’m talking about.  If you went through puberty in the Christian culture in the late 90’s, you’ve kissed dating goodbye at least once, too.  So of course I wanted to see if the author had moved beyond the dating scene. And Multnomah was happy to oblige me. They provided me with a free copy of “Dug Down Deep,” and in return I provide the honest review.

Story Line:
In a world of shallow faiths, Joshua Harris sets out to explain what grounds us in ours.  It’s a self-proclaimed systematic theology book – meaning that it addresses topically issues of theology (God, Man, Sin, etc.), but unlike many of those books it is filled with personality, testimony, illustrations, and conversation. Like the back of the book says, “Readable. Relevant. Powerful.”

Strong theology is set against the backdrop of the Amish community (made more powerful by just one episode of “Breaking Amish”), his father’s faith story, and his own journey’s mistakes and breakthroughs.

The Real Story:
While reading this work, I kept forgetting he’s not still 21. Not his fault, just my own bias. And, I think, as a result, I’m blown away by his grounded words and excellent content.

Thematically, Josh Harris addresses the issues that many contemporary books are also talking about – the problems of casual Christianity.  Books and movements like “Not a Fan” and “I Am Second” are exposing our need, but my personal feeling is that this book provides the Scripture and God’s work in our lives as the primary source of that firm ground.  This book is filled with Scripture and their references.  So essential! And so lacking in much of the Christian pop books (aka, “Christian Living”) that fill the shelves of Christian bookstores. I was also glad to see a study guide tacked on to the end, great small group material.

He took some risks (and I was glad) on specifics of Christian theology that tend to put people in camps, but his heart was evident throughout his writing.  Even if you disagreed with a point of his theology, you couldn’t disregard him as a follower of Christ, because you could sense the humility and passion for the truth. It’s hard to be angry with someone like that.

Noticeably absent was any eschatological material (End Times stuff).  Maybe those camps are just too entrenched for any type of discussion among this “humble orthodoxy.”

Check out:
“Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman - While I’m not the books biggest fan, I still appreciate it in conjunction with this one.

out of 5 rocks on which to build your house and life.

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