book reviews, Christian image, Jesus fan or follower, kyle idleman, literature, not a fan, priorities, reading marathon, relationships, repentance, salvation, seven books in seven weeks, spiritual understanding, surrender, writing
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 .
I’m constantly reading. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, I’ll find a book impossible to put down and conquer it in a day. Other times I’ll find one that’s good but I can put it down, so with the day-to-day of family and other responsibilities it’ll take me a little longer to get through it.
And last, but most unfortunately, every now and then I’ll come across one that’s terrible. But because I’m nosy and have a hard time not finishing what I start, I’ll carry it around like a shackle on my leg until I’ve finally dragged myself to the end. Though I always tell myself, “I just have to know if there’s a point, a redeeming quality, anything to make me feel like I didn’t waste my time,” I usually get to the end and say, “Why on earth did I waste my time with that?”
Anyway, I’m in the mood for a reading marathon. Seven books in seven weeks. Just the thought of it has me excited.
What’s this mean for you? Two or three things:
- If you have a book you think I should read (and not one of the terrible kind just to make me suffer), post your recommendations and I’ll consider it if I haven’t already read it.
- With each book I’ll post a review. That way if you haven’t read it yet I can provide some insight as to whether or not it’s worth your time.
- This one is optional but I’ll be ecstatic if you do it…you can join me! They don’t have to be the same seven books, just the same volume and timeline.
I’m eager to start so put in your recommendations. With your help I hope to compile a list and get the first leg of this race started by next weekend :-).
Update: Click here for the Seven Books in Seven Weeks List.
And if you’re one of the brave souls committed to joining me in this marathon, say so in the comments so we can make this journey together.
God bless and happy reading!
It’s almost time!!!
A couple of weeks ago I posted about upcoming fiction blogging. As promised, the first two chapters of my debut novel were posted here for little over a week, but have since been removed in order to comply with the rules of an upcoming contest I intend to enter.
But no worries. Her red-headed step-cousin is fast on her heels as a replacement.
Want that in English?
I am still going forward with my Truth or Fiction Tuesdays short story series. Beginning…next Tuesday!
That’s right. That gives you a chance to win the giveaway, a $25 Amazon gift e-card, in time for the Christmas holiday. Here’s how it works:
Each short story (1,500 words or less) posted here October 2nd – November 13th will either be fiction or based on true events.
To be eligible to win you must decide if a story is truth or fiction and cast your vote in that story’s comment box. All votes must be received by Friday, November 16th at 11:59 PM. The more you read and participate, the better your chances of winning!
To earn additional entries, share the link on your Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest account and let me know that you did so in the comments box when you vote.I will publish the results of the winner and the truth/fiction status of the stories by title the weekend following the end of the contest. The winner will then be contacted and sent the gift card via email.
Sound easy enough? Here’s the short version: read, vote, share, and you could WIN!
I am looking forward to having a lot of fun with this series, and I’d love for you to join me :-).