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|Available at Amazon.com|
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God [Soft Cover]
By Francis Chan
205 pages, $14.99
David C. Cook
Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd
It is refreshing to read a book that directly addresses the problem inherent in Christianity today. Have many who darken the doors of various churches forgotten the central message of Scripture: the Creator of the Universe loves us all with a radical form of love? If church attendees believed that fundamental truth, why does “doing” church seem as if we are merely checking religious boxes and not having any real impact upon the world?
The implied lack of impact we have upon the world should shake us from our collective stupor. Francis Chan reminds the church that since life goes by pretty quickly we should be spending time showing God’s amazingly crazy love to this world, instead of seeking ways to entertain ourselves. How awesome is it that the one who hung the various galaxies in the skies loves mankind with a love that never diminishes? That is good news a lot of people need to hear.
Since the absentee father is becoming an accepted norm: how much impact would radical loving Christians have if they demonstrate that God is a good father? In fact, Jesus’ interaction with his father reveals that he viewed God as Dad—since “Abba” means daddy in Aramaic. Sadly, the best earthly example of a father is only a faint cry of the depth of the relationship which God desires to have with all of us. Although many would agree that loving one’s children is admirable—Chan asserts that even the depth of love he feels for his children fails to describe the depth of Jesus’ love for us.
Do our lives reflect the depth of love we have for God? Chan poses the ultimate question: “Do you love this God who is everything, or do you just love everything he gives you?” Ouch. Far too many would have to sheepishly admit they love everything God gives them.
In a gripping way, Chan levels the boom at the lukewarm in today’s church who feel that attending church, giving money, or desiring what is popular is all that is required of today’s Christians. If Christians have been infused with this crazy kind of love shouldn’t they share their faith? Would Christians who were coming to grips with the depth of God’s love abhor sin and not just want to rid of its penalty—but be rid of sin itself? Do Christians too glibly assert, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” and “trust in the Lord with all your heart” and live as if they do not believe it? Sadly, the author confirms that he is mortified by those in the church who know they are lukewarm and do not want to do anything about it.
Francis Chan interacts with Scripture throughout his book to reinforce his message. For example, the author reflects on Jesus’ words of warning when he spoke to large crowds accompanying him and advised them to consider the cost of discipleship. In Luke 14:34-35 Jesus indicates, “Salt is good, but if salt loses its flavor, how can its flavor be restored? It is of no value for the soil or for the manure pile; it is to be thrown out. The one who has ears to hear had better listen!” [New English Translation] Chan sums up precisely the point by saying: I’m sure no one really wants to hear Jesus say, “Your life would ruin manure.” The book is more than an exhaustive biblical exegesis, however. Chan shares his penchant for humor when he later shares a quip of the same ilk, “A friend of mine once said that Christians are like manure: spread them out and they help everything grow better, but keep them in one big pile and they stink horribly.”
Crazy Love will reinforce the idea that Christianity implies a radical commitment—it is all or nothing when serving God. Once we are included in God’s kingdom, the norm should be a remarkable cycle: our prayers for more love result in love, which naturally causes us to pray more, which results in more love…
In the church, we are living the poem “Three Dollars worth of God” by Wilbur Rees:
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstasy, not transformation.
I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Crazy Love will grip you from the first few pages and not allow you to be satisfied with a portion of the eternal. After reading this excellent book you have a choice to make: run actively toward Christ or serve God your leftovers.