Tanara McCauley

Culturally Imagined Stories

Week 2 Book 2: A Review of Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman

not a fan

Got your church T-shirt? Your “Jesus is my co-pilot” bumper sticker? What about your WWJD bracelet?

Bible? Check! Some verses memorized? Check! Personalized tithe envelopes? You know this maaan!

Okay, okay. Now what about Jesus? You’ve got all the paraphernalia–the outward stuff that clothes you with the Christian image–but do you really have Jesus? Are you a fan, or are you a follower?

Uhhhhhhh……………..what you talkin’ bout Willis?

Willis isn’t here. But if you want to know what I’m talking about, pick up Kyle Idleman’s Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus. Idleman uses an in-your-face and step-on-your-toes approach to distinguish between professors of Christ who are merely fans, and followers of Christ who are all in.

Kyle addresses several indicators of fandom. In short, they know about Jesus but don’t know Him, they praise Him with their mouths but their hearts are vacationing in self-ville, or in Kyle’s words, “They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them.” Followers, however, don’t just put Jesus first. He is it. He is all. There is no competition.

Because the book is non-fiction and the theme very specific, it’s difficult for me to review it in-depth without giving away too much. What I can say is that it will challenge readers to do a great deal of self-reflection. It is written in such a way that, fan or follower, you cannot walk away from it without digging deep inside to see where your loyalties lie, whether they are divided, or even if somewhere along the way they’ve shifted.

Most of the time Idleman addresses the reader as if he/she is already a fan. Some might sit a little straighter at such presumption, but calm down. Following Christ is a daily calling, not a one time deal. And every opportunity to search the heart and “see if there is any wicked way” in it (Psalm 139:24) is time well spent. Remember: followers of Christ welcome a righteous rebuke, we don’t refuse it (Psalm 141:5).

If you’re a fan and you’re happy right where you are, my guess is Kyle’s message will seriously offend you. If you’re a fan but no longer want to be, it’ll challenge you to bolt out of the stands, suit up, and get to the business of living like a true follower of Jesus. If you’re already a follower you’ll identify if and when you tend to have seasons of fandom, or whether there are compartmentalized areas of your life where your spiritual weapon of choice is a set of frilly pom poms.

Where this book is concerned, I have to say I would qualify as a fan of the book. I am “an enthusiastic admirer” of the message and the style of writing. I laughed (hard), I cried (loud), and when I put it down I started calculating how much it was going to cost me to get one in the hands of way too many people. I found the personal testimonies particularly powerful. I gave it five out of five stars.

When it comes to Jesus, however, I am not a fan.

Click here for the list of the remaining books: Seven Books in Seven Weeks: The List .

6 responses to “Week 2 Book 2: A Review of Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman”

    • Thanks, Elissa! His writing voice is great and his teaching style very direct. I haven’t read the other book but from your recent post it sounds like a good read. I’ll have to look into it. Blessings :-).


    • Wow, that’s awesome! I had a tinge of envy I must confess. It’s not easy to find a pastor who preaches the Word with unapologetic truth and passion, and who’s more concerned about a person’s walk than a person’s perception of him (i.e., will risk being unpopular). I pray his ministry is a blessing to you and helps you be a blessing to others :-).


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