This is the most significant book I’ve read all year.
Pete and I just spent a fabulous week in a lovely cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Our aim was to stop, reflect, relax, and refresh. Some days we played tourist, enjoying the scenic drives, wildlife, and golden aspen and cottonwoods. Other days we hung around the cabin, reading, talking, and praying. After a crazy year that included moving both our home and Pete’s ministry office, it was just what we needed.
I had a stack of books to read, and managed to make it through several of them. They were all excellent, but if I could pick one to recommend most highly, it would have to be Good or God: Why Good without God Isn’t Enough, by John Bevere.
Last week I discussed how a large majority of single Christians are engaging in premarital sex. Yet, I always thought the Bible was quite clear on this topic—God’s against it. How do these unmarried believers handle what appears to be a black and white issue?
It seems there are two possible approaches. Either they still believe that engaging in extra-marital sex is sinful—and end up feeling guilty—or they reinterpret the Bible and claim that there’s no problem.
Back and forth, from one side to the other. It seems as though the church is a giant pendulum, swinging back and forth between opposing extremes. During the first half of the 20th century there was a focus on knowing about God—sermons were educational, hymns reiterated the same theology, Bible studies brought the lesson home yet again.
Then the pendulum swung the other way. We discovered that head knowledge alone didn’t satisfy. Books were written, sermons preached, ministries created—all with the goal of helping us foster an intimate relationship with God. No complaint here; we need both: to know about God and know God.
Similarly, we’ve moved from legalism and a focus on rules to permissiveness and grace, from shunning the sinner to accepting unbiblical cultural norms.
Why would you want to read a book on spirituality written by someone who admits he’s really bad at it?
Right up front, Michael Yaconelli explains that his life is a mess. He describes his Christian walk—“The best I can do is a stumbling, bumbling, clumsy kind of following”—and then asks, “So how can someone unspiritual presume to talk about spirituality? How can someone unholy presume to talk about holiness? It makes no sense.”