Most of the time, I love to be surprised. But I'm not easily surprised by a religious book anymore.
The book I just finished is a wonderful exception.
Most of the 3.5 faithful readers of my blog will know that I'm a recovering fundamentalist. In my early 20s, my faith was a somewhat radicalized one, in a judgmental kind of way. Grace was a theological concept to be debated, not a life to be lived and shared.
But what you may not know--what I have only recently realized myself--is that I'm also a recovering anti-fundamentalist.
You see, when I experience fellow followers displaying that same judgmentally immature faith that I had at 20, it frustrates me. It angers me. I hate the man-made barriers we have Pharisaically thrown up between God and the most vulnerable, "sinful" of people. But in my own desire to radicalize grace and oppose fundamentalism, I may have not shared the same grace I have received.
For we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. All. Me too.
But I've gotten away from the point of this post.
As a recovering anti-fundamentalist, the mere mention of Liberty University can raise my hackles. I've got some friends who went there and loved the place. It's probably a wonderful university experience in many ways. But I have a hard time getting past the fundamentalist reputation of Liberty having no liberty or grace. So when I received a copy of Johnnie Moore's "Dirty God" to review from Thomas Nelson, I was actually looking forward to reviewing a book that I probably had some issues with.
Boy, was I wrong.
This is a great book, and all the more great because it was written by a VP at Liberty. Johnnie (I hope I can call him Johnnie and that's okay, but I really don't know him at all) has written a book about God and grace that is excellent. Moving between his own experiences around the world, his wide reading, and his passion for an abiding grace in his own life, Johnnie makes an excellent case for loving God and especially for loving neighbor.
This book is well worth the time invested in reading.
And he wrote an afterword just for me--at least that what it says. He challenges me to not just theologically understand grace, not even just to practice grace, but to be involved in a grace movement that changes me. But not just me, the circle of people around me. And not just them either, but the whole world. I finished this book just now, and needed to write this review immediately, but hopefully I can do just that: be a piece of God's wave of grace splashing and crashing around the world.
To quote the great French/British philosopher Jean-Luc Picard, make it so.