What would your Christianity look like if it was stripped down to the simplest, rawest, purest faith possible? You would have more, not less.
This book is an invitation to become part of a reformation movement. It is an invitation to rediscover the compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy that turned the world upside down two thousand years ago. It is an invitation to be astonished again by the Greatest Commandment.
Now, on to the first book you should read in 2010 (or in your case, a little before)! 🙂 In Primal, Mark Batterson strips away every distraction and complication, focusing on the essence of Christianity, the Great Commandment. Batterson explores the foundational elements of loving God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.
And when you learn how love God with everything you have, it’ll change your life. And probably your world.
FROM BATTERSON’S PRIMAL WEBSITE:
Great at the Great Commandment
Primal is more than a book. It’s a movement waiting to happen.
Christianity has a perception problem. At the heart of the problem is the simple fact that Christians are more known for what we’re against than what we’re for. But the real problem isn’t perception. We as Christians are often quick to point out what’s wrong with our culture. And we certainly need the moral courage to stand up for what’s right in the face of what’s wrong. But before confronting what’s wrong with our culture, we need to be humble enough, honest enough, and courageous enough to repent of what’s wrong with us.
So what’s wrong with us?
The answer is simply this: We’re not great at the Great Commandment.
And in too many instances, we’re not even good at it.
That, I believe, is our primal problem. That is the lost soul of Christianity. If Jesus said that loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength is the most important commandment, then doesn’t it logically follow that we ought to spend an inordinate amount of our time and energy trying to understand it and obey it? We can’t afford to be merely good at the Great Commandment. We’ve got to be great at the Great Commandment.
When I read the subtitle for Primal, “A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity,” my first thought was I’d just committed myself to a theological diatribe so far over my head I’d need a long rope to pull me out.
Batterson manages, with examples drawn from his own family to George Washington Carver, to construct a handbook [of sorts] for what he says is “reigniting a primal faith.” Honestly and generally, books like these tend to sedate me and/or cause me to question my capacity to delve into the reading deep.
What I loved about this book is that Batterson approaches his exploration of the Great Commandment like a math teacher reducing a fraction to simplest terms. And that, I can wrap my brain around.
After my highlighting and margin scribbled notes, this book may come to look more like a Monet painting. One observation of Batterson’s that almost knocked me out of my chair was this,
“God ideas aren’t the by-product of genius, they are the by-product of love. The more you love God, the more God reveals.If you love Him enough, not for what He can do but for who He is, then God will give up His Secrets. Why? Because that is the essence of love. The more you love, the more you reveal And there are so many secrets waiting to be revealed.”
Don’t read this book unless, like the author says, you’re ready to be “astonished again” in your discovery of what it means to love God.
This was book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.