Friday, March 12, 2010

Fearless- Max Lucado

I'll preface this review with a couple of caveats. First, I received this book for free from publisher Thomas Nelson. Second, I'm a bit new to religion in general. I wasn't raised anything and have only recently come to church. I'll not divulge my faith or personal beliefs here, but from what I've heard Lucado is more conservative and evangelical than I tend to be. I've tried to not let any of these factors temper my review.

Being fearless is something that I've always equated with the young kids I used to teach skiing to when I was in high school. Watching tiny three and four-year-olds barrel down a ski hill without regard to cracked heads, torn ACLs or aching muscles is the definition of fearless. Seeing as how they only have two or three feet maximum to fall, this lack of fear isn't too hard to imagine. However, most of us grow past three feet and even if we didn't the knowledge that we gain in life often comes at a price. Sometimes the adage that ignorance is bliss is all too true. It's hard to be fearless when you're farther than three feet from the ground and have a much better idea of what life's consequences. Lucado breaks the book up into chapters that all focus on various fears that people have in modern society. Fears of overwhelming challenges, violence, not mattering, and not protecting the kids, are some of the difficulties that Lucado expounds on.

In each chapter, Lucado illustrates the fear through personal anecdotes and stories of this type of fear manifesting in regular people's lives. He then pulls quotations, parables and psalms from the Bible to illustrate why people needn't be afraid of any of these calamities because God and Jesus are on their side.

Overall, I liked this book, but I have some reservations about it. I love the message: don't worry; just live your life and do what you can about your own actions. I think this is something that everyone, can or should be able to practice. We can't change everything in the world. We can't change other people actions or thoughts or practices, but we can take charge of our own thoughts and actions and practices, and create change in the world that way. What I don't like about this book is how heavy handed it is with God and the Bible. Now, I understand that is is a Christian book from a Christian publisher and for that audience, I think it's great. For me, it worked. For the rest of the population, I think they would be turned off by it, which is unfortunate because I really love the message. Granted, if you weren't a Christian, or someone who believed in God, you'd be unlikely to pick up this book to begin with, but I still wish the message were more accessible to everyone, faithful, agnostic and atheist.

I would say, if you're Christian of any persuasion, read this book. If you're religious of any other persuasion or not religious at all, read the book, but listen to the words, and don't worry about the tradition from which they have come. These are good ideas for every human, not just Christians.

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