Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson have a theory that a relationship with God is bigger and better than we have been led to believe. There are these rumours of a God of love, justice, freedom, community, hope and abundant life banded around which don’t seem to be true in our daily lives. By tackling one rumour at a time the authors take us on a journey of discovery, learning about who God is and what our lives can really be like.
I really liked this book. It’s written in straightforward language but communicates some pretty heavy truths without watering them down. The message is biblically sound and sets a standard that really increases the reader’s faith for more. The stories and illustrations are good, and add some real clarity to some of the concepts which may seem unfamiliar to Christians living in the modern-day Western culture.
I particularly liked the insights the book brought to culture – I felt challenged by the analyses of Hollywood, consumerism and individualism but the book is littered with real breakdowns of why our attitudes are the way they are, and how we can break free from them.
There’s also a good feature at the back in questions for small group discussion – the stuff they talk about here is really helped by some healthy discussion, so if you’re in a small group and would like some material to start with, there would be worse places to start than this book!
I got this book for free from BookSneeze.com. I’m not required to give a positive review.
I think we all know that pretty much all of Walt Disney’s films are based on popular fairy tales, like Snow White, Cinderella and so on.
But we might not know that the stories were changed because Disney didn’t like sad endings; he was unhappy in life and wanted the characters in his movies to experience paradise in their little worlds. Take Pinocchio: the original story included Pinocchio stomping Jiminy Cricket to death with his foot, and the story ends with Pinocchio being hung – I don’t remember that in the Disney film!
When you think about it, every Disney film follows the same basic storyline: the main character has a dream, and it comes true…and this has now been replicated throughout Hollywood, and even into our minds. We’ve had a couple of generations brought up on Disney films now, but we have more depression, debt and addiction than ever before in history.
Ideas like Disney’s have affected our attitudes to the point that we think the purpose of existing must be to achieve our little dreams of money, sex and power – and when God doesn’t provide on them we’re disappointed. But God always knows better than we do, and always wants better than we do. I’ve quoted this before but it bears repeating – here’s C.S. Lewis, with perhaps one of my favourite quotes of all time:
If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.