Tuesday, August 19, 2014

'Radically Normal' by Josh Kelley

Radically Normal: You Don't Have to Live Crazy to Follow JesusDo you feel that your life is pleasing to God--almost? When you hear about pastors, missionaries, and popular speakers, do you feel just a bit second-class, as if your life appears lukewarm and not as radical as theirs?

You're not alone. A vague sense of guilt is common in the church. We know God's grace is the key to eternal life, but it's so much more than that--it's the key to a joy-filled walk with Him every moment. Josh Kelley shows why you don't have to give away everything you own to be a fully committed follower of Jesus Christ. He demonstrates that...

God is crazy about you right where you are. You are just as important as any other member of Christ's body. The work you do every day can be pleasing to God.
Discover the joy of radical obedience to Christ in your normal, everyday life.


This book wasn't exactly what I expected from the title and blurb, but still a good read. I'd expected something along the lines of considering our Average Joe status radical, in these days when everyone seems to strive to be special. However, its message turns out to be about not veering too far on either side of the 'spiritual' spectrum, complacency or obsessiveness. Normal may be well-balanced.

Josh Kelley describes how he'd grown up unconsciously classifying people as either 'normal' or 'super' Christians, and he used to strive to work his way to the top of the super Christians.  He examines the trap of being obsessive. It's easy to think we're zealously doing just what God would approve of, yet this may be based on guilt, obligation, legalism, living up to expectations or other ulterior motives. He challenges us to do our work just because it is our joy to serve God the way we do. 

He conducted an interesting study on joy, looking at joyful people in the Bible, deciding whether they were 'spiritual' or 'earthy' in their approach to life, and entering the results in a database. I'll leave his conclusion, as to whether either sacred or secular activities trump the other, to anybody who may choose to read this book. Other questions, such as whether spending money on ourselves is less holy than giving it away, are examined too. It's a great read for people who worry about how to balance legalism and worldliness.

The stand-out quote for me may be, "The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." This, of course, differs from one person to the next. I appreciate how he warns us that we may not be able to earn our living through our calling. He's had moments of finding that out himself (and so have I). Many books give the impression that if you follow your heart, money will follow. Not always the case.

Thanks to Net Galley and Harvest House for giving me a copy to review.

4 stars

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