Monday, February 23, 2009

Review of Plastic Jesus by Eric Sandras

(Note: Over the next month, I'm going to catch up on all the books I promised to review. It's been an insane six months, but there's no end in sight. My apologies for the wait.)

In this easy-to-read book, Pastor Eric Sandras gives friendly advice on how to deepen your spiritual relationship with Jesus. He likens most people's Christian Faith as a suburban faith, full of shallow problems and concern about appearances over substance. He shares personal experiences in his own spiritual journey as well as analogies and questions to consider to help the reader examine their own faith life.

I accepted the opportunity to review the book because it sounded like a unique way to do some personal spiritual work. Unfortunately, I think I'm not really his target audience. I found the approach patronizing at times and not really applicable to me. I was very turned off by phrases like "I was reminded of this the other day as I was dunkin' biscotti in a dark roast with a seeker dude" or comparing our relationship to God to clean upholstery: "God doesn't want to cover ups the smell of sins in our life (like the fancy air freshener I hang in my car to cover the smell of last week's spilled latte). He wants to tear up the fabric of our life and make it new, stain-resistant and inviting enough for others to walk on."

Having said that, I think that there are a lot of people who will respond to his "buddies chatting over lattes at Starbucks" approach. Such readers find some pearls of wisdom--like in the chapter on finding God's purpose for you by listening to His direction and not the "ought-to"s in life, by praying and listening, and by finding a mentor. Or believing the God loves you because you are His, not because of the things you do, because with that security comes courage to do great things for God. Some of his examples are spot-on, like the mother who was neglecting her role as mother in order to fulfill what she thought she had to do as a "good Christian." He also includes questions at the end of many sections in order to help you explore the lessons further and apply them to your life.

This is a good starter book for those who do feel trapped in a hollow, "plastic Jesus" kind of worship.

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