Wherever Here Is, Start Here

imageBrothers Alex and Brett Harris set the young adult world on fire with their first book entitled Do Hard Things in which they pushed the readers (and their leaders) out of their comfort zones and into the world of apprehending challenges for Christ. Their encouragement sparked the energy and interest of countless young people but lacked an outline for how to proceed. Not wanting to lose the momentum that has been stirred up, the Harris brothers bring their latest book Start Here with an encouraging guide for how to get going fanning the sparks of enthusiasm into a bonfire.

Start Here is a rousing call to get moving for all of us in whom God plants a seed for action, but it is especially geared toward young adults and teenagers. The twins combine numerous first-person accounts with a theme that winds its way through all of the pages; just because you’re a teenager doesn’t mean you can’t be taken seriously. When we are confronted daily with images of the supposed lost state of our young people, it is heartening to read the stories of those who are obviously not spending all of their time texting at the mall. In fact, a twinge of guilt might fly through the older reader as we realize we haven’t even attempted anything on the scale of what some of the youngsters have accomplished for God.

The book isn’t a manual filled with step-by-step instructions for accomplishing your objectives. Instead, the authors have created a looser, Q & A format that helps the Hard Thing doer to organize their own thinking at each step of the way. The inductive approach is perfect for the intended teen audience who might rebel at being told that they need to follow a set of specific steps in order to reach their goals. Instead, they encounter a number of approaches in each area, including the struggles the people ran into by following their own path and from the varied approaches they can select the one that best fits their style and circumstances.

While I’m a bit outside of the age group of the core audience for Start Here, it was a valuable read and I found the earnestness of the authors and contributors to be refreshing. Youth leaders, Pastors, and Parents should invest a couple of days in reading this book before slipping it to their teens. The spark that comes from turning to any of the sections and reading the experiences of other young people may be just the thing to bring your teenager off of the sidelines and into the service of the Lord.

Read more about the book here.


Thanks to Multnomah books who graciously provided this copy for review.

Janet Weiss – Louise – Bull Durham’s Jesus

Actress Susan Sarandon recently spoke about the Jesus that she knows. It appears from here statements regarding the divinity of all humankind that she perceives, that this Jesus was just another guy like you and me, divine but also an activist. Forgive my naivete, but isn’t an activist one who protests and campaigns to achieve a change in the order of things? Jesus was not trying to get the rest of the divines around him to help him change the order, HE CHANGED IT. Perhaps a closer reading of the Bible would help Miss Sarandon [and her partner Mr. Robbins] with an understanding of how Jesus engage the world. (You can read the interview from which this comes here.)

You and Tim [Robbins, Sarandon’s longtime partner] are so well known for being peace activists. What are some ways that regular people can help bring peace into the world?
I think it really starts with your neighbors. I think it starts with your everyday life and living as Christ did, in a loving way and a respectful way. That, then, leads to questioning other things. And you find in your heart what resonates with you. And then you have to take action, whether it’s in the street, or licking envelopes, or writing to your congresspeople, or taking care of veterans when they come home. I think that you have to not be result-oriented in order to look back on your life and think it was a life well lived. I think that it’s every single day, the choices that you make in the presence of how you go towards truth and justice. And it’s an individual decision how that manifests itself.
There is certainly so much need in the world for compassion. Every action is a political action. The only thing I’m completely sure of is that inaction is not acceptable.
I think that Christ was an activist. Christ wasn’t afraid. His life is an example of activism. I think that the gap between the rich and the poor contributes to the pain of the world. I think that that anything you can do that helps to alleviate this huge gaping gap between the rich and the poor will eventually make the world a more peaceful place.

‘Louise’ lost me in the second sentence. Jesus did live in a loving way but often, those on the receiving end of His tough love were anything but immediately enamored with Him and He certainly did not travel around the Holy Land and engage others in a respectful way. Read Galli’s book Jesus Mean and Wild to get a better idea of the way that the Lord confronted those who ran opposite to the ideals of His Father’s kingdom. ‘Janet’ then goes on to say that she envisions Jesus as an activist, that He was not afraid. Well, He certainly had nothing to fear, knowing full well that God had everything well in hand. On the other hand, he held a special contempt for those who had it in their power to relieve the suffering of others and yet did not act; for example, saying that everyone should do what they can in order to alleviate poverty but continuing to store up riches of their own here on earth.

Miss Sarandon, what would your Jesus say about the lifestyle that you and Mr. Robbins openly promote?