Friday, April 23, 2010

Wild At Heart by John Eldredge, An Honest Review

Ok, gear up, because this is going to be a bumpy review.
After reading 'Wild At Heart', I was a left with many mixed feelings. I think I somewhat grasped the message the author was trying to send, but I had to read this book twice in order to get it. That's how hidden and confusing it was.
Summary: 'Wild At Heart' is a devotional book for men intending on revealing their true heart, in essence, what is at the core of every man, how God made them.

Theological Issues and Disputes: A main dispute I had with this book is how it criticizes what Mr. Eldredge calls "The Really Nice Guy". He puts the "nice guy" down constantly, insisting all men are to be assertive, pushy, forceful, etc. While I do agree that there is a time and a place for men act like men, standing for what is right, being strong, courageous, etc. this does not mean that a man is supposed to be forceful and "manly" when it comes to a little old lady needing help to cross the street. There are many, many scriptures that describe men being humble, meek, and kind, yet Mr. Eldredge almost scorns these Bible passages and instead makes his point with a few scriptures taken entirely out of context. This is not christian, nor professional. I don't want Mr. Eldredge's belief system, making the Bible fit it. I want the Bible, all of it. If you are going to take the Bible and try to make it fit your ideas, that's wrong.
Another issue I had was his "follow your heart" philosophy. The Bible clearly states in numerous places that you are not to follow your heart, you are to trust your heart to God. There is a huge difference!
I do agree with some of what Mr. Eldredge was teaching. Men today aren't very "manly", in my opinion. I'm not bashing men, but I think every time they've tried to say something, they've been shushed, so to speak. That many christian men don't stand up for what's right is a sad fact. That many christian men are criticized unjustly for simply acting like men in their created nature is another true message he wrote about here. However he did not distinguish the fine line between men's fallen nature and their created nature, which I felt to be so vital to this book. Yes, men are to be wild in a sense, but this author disregards the clear example of the greatest man of all- Jesus. Yes, Jesus did get angry, He was forceful, but those times were few and far between. It wasn't His constant presence. What drew people to Jesus was His mercy, His love, His compassion, and His forgiveness. If He dwelt in His fleshly passions of anger, condemnation, and wildness, then He would not have been a perfect man. I felt too much of the wild man was taught, without a balance, which Christ had, which all men, and even women, are to have as well.

Writing Style and Product: The product was very well made in itself. The writing style actually turned me off of reading this book for a while, which is why this review was a little delayed. Though I liked how Mr. Eldredge is personal and very open, on nearly every page he references some movie to illustrated a supposed 'biblical' point. Not wise. Many of these movies were inappropriate, as in, not the type of movies many christians would watch. I felt he should have backed up his views with more scripture instead of numerous movie references and quotes. It distracted greatly from his message and reading the book itself. I don't know if he was getting paid for all this advertising or not.

All in all, I understand the point of this book. Men need to be men, not the media portrayed image of men, or mousy men, but real, strong men. A great point, but this book needs a huge rewrite so to make it more clear to the general audience.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Essentials for Life by Marcia Ford, and Honest Review

Summary: 'Essentials for Life' is intended to be a devotional on the basics of Christianity, the fundamentals of the faith if you will, and is meant to help you figure out what you truly believe on these issues.

Theological and Faith Issues: Personally, I mostly agreed with everything in this book. The author was rather neutral on denominations, instead sticking to the Bible and comparing that with what she taught. There was nothing wild or off-base, maybe a few minor things I disagreed with, but nothing huge.

Writing Style and Message: The cover states that this book discusses and reviews major beliefs of the Christian faith, and it does that, in a way. One problem in tackling such a challenge is that, as the author states, it is immensely vast. This book was simply too short to address all these issues correctly, giving them a two page overview instead. What you'll learn when reading this devotional is that these issues exist, and that they are important, but you won't learn how to really defend them, which is something I was hoping for. Each chapter basically tells you to learn more about the belief discussed. There are a few pointers at the end, but not enough for a christian to become grounded on. Though this isn't that great with the shortness of it, it is a good devotional. You just need to read other books, or better yet, the Bible, to really get a grip on the standards the author writes about.
As for her style, I liked it. Friendly, and easy to understand, it gives the book an advantage in that many types of people can read it and learn.

Product Make: The pages are glossy and not boring. I had an issue with the cover though, as the flap simply won't stay shut, but flips out. I don't know why that is.

All in all, this is a pretty good devotional. I'll give it four stars, but I would say there are better out there.