Friday, May 20, 2011

Rock On... "Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream"

Title: Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream
Author: Pastor David Platt
Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah
Genre: Non-Fiction/Christian
Year of Publication: 2010
ISBN: 978-1-60142-221-7

This Book In 100 Words: So, you're a Christian who proclaims to love God and live life as a testament to His glory. But have you ever really understood what it means to be a biblical Christian? Would you still be a follower of Christ if you didn't have financial security, several technological gadgets, sanitary food and water, or even a stable roof over your head? If you were hesitant toward any of these conditions, your faith has been warped by the American Dream, an antithetical mentality to the Christian doctrine. That's the bad news. The good news is that you can change right away.

Pros: From cover to cover, this book packs a punch. The chapters are divided up fairly evenly, with all but two containing approximately twenty pages that can be knocked out in under thirty minutes. There are several subsections within each chapter, too, in case you need a stopgap or a chance to digest what you just read. Though I chide the bold statements found throughout this book in the following segment, they are plentiful and provocative. In general, they all denounce the way of cultural Christianity found predominantly in American churches today. But these statements are not meant to cast shame upon the reader. If anything, they urge the reader to reconsider his or her place in the world, for all residents in the United States are living within the top 15 percent of the world's wealth. Meanwhile, this book weaves the author's insights and experiences seamlessly, making it compelling to read just one more page. In so doing, the author practically pushes you to become more proactive in your faith 'coz, lets face it, if you can't practice what Jesus preached about the "good life", you may be kidding yourself if you profess to be a Christian.

Cons: This is not a book meant to be taken lightly. Just because its short doesn't make it sweet. If anything, you may be left with a bitter taste in your mouth when you're done with it (figuratively speaking). It also makes a lot of bold statements that, depending on your walk with Christ and socioeconomic status, will rattle your cage to various degrees and even possibly question your commitment to the Christian faith. This book all but insists that the only way to live out God's plan for believers is to quit one's job, sell one's house and material possessions, and become a missionary in some foreign country in the 10/40 window. The language, though far from Bible bashing, is reminiscent of the fire and brimstone sermons of the past, so don't expect to be coddled, either. This book relies heavily on pathos to get its points across, so the author goes through a lot of trouble clarifying his points so that the reader won't take his words to extremes, though the book's title suggests otherwise. It leaves a lot of subjectivity, such as defining a necessity from a luxury, and it would surprise me none if several readers are turned off by its overarching premise.

Final Verdict: This book lives up to its title, and then some. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream is the remedy for professing Christians, specifically in the United States, whose minds have been conditioned into thinking that the gospel of health, wealth and prosperity is what Jesus blesses his followers with. Surprise, its the polar opposite! This book is an uncomfortable, yet challenging, read that'll make you think twice about renovating your house, or buying the latest model of flat screen televisions, or doing anything that is seen as self-promotion. In fact, after reading this book, you'll never look at material possessions the same way ever again. Whether you're a theology major looking for critical commentary or an ordinary believer looking for spiritual growth, you've stumbled upon the quintessential piece of contemporary Christian literature. The only complaints I have deal with its inclusion of subjective loose ends regarding the Christian way of life and its brevity, but even those are counteracted by the quality put forth by the author. As Californian beach bums would say, this book is "radical." And may it be a mainstay in your personal library, too.

Rock's Rating: ***** stars

1 comment:

  1. The book contains stories that will make you weep, as well as those that will shock you. It gives the readers a bold look at where Christians are failing in today's society and how to bring about a positive change. Platt speaks with no apologies, and his message will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows, especially among the "religious" crowd. However, I found his radical statements to be true and straight down the line of what the Bible teaches.