A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity
A subtitle like that should cause you to stop and ask a very important question before proceeding; has Christianity lost its soul? Has it become so complicated by manmade adornments and requirements that we who adhere to the faith have lost sight of the core of our faith? I struggled with responding to this challenge until I began to draw the distinction between religion and faith. Religious complexities are legion with our innumerable denominations, the theological structures that gather and divide us, and even the wide variety of Bible ‘flavors’. These things divide us and draw our attention away until the core of our faith is lost. The Shema of Jesus, the Great Commandment, gets clouded by the machinations forced by the scaffoldings we erect meant to protect it. We become great practitioners of religion while losing the glow of our faith. Pastor Mark Batterson calls us back to the simplicity of belief and practice that Jesus taught; love God with all of your heart, mind, and soul and then that love out in the world.
In Primal, Batterson attempts to push aside all of the complexity and help us return to the four corners of our faith. He organizes the book around four primal elements that he identifies in the Great Commandment:
- The heart of Christianity is primal compassion,
- The soul of Christianity is primal wonder,
- The mind of Christianity is primal curiosity,
- And the strength of Christianity is primal energy.
Each of these elements is explored in a series of chapters that further devolve the idea, hoping to drill down to the pure essence of each facet.
I was disappointed when this expectation wasn’t met. I’ll tell you up front, I wanted to love this book. Batterson’s first book In a Pit with a Lion on a Sunny Day is one of my favorite books bringing Benaiah to life as he did. I wanted to love this book, but ended up only liking it. The size of the collage of stories, biographical accounts, and inspiring words does just what Mark had set out to erase as his points get lost in the avalanche. The majority of the vignettes are inspiring and will give you pause to reflect but as far as leading us to a primal core, we could use a better map.
For more information about this book, click for the Waterbrook web site.
This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.