Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
I picked up this book on Christmas Eve before midnight mass because, well, it was free. And I’ll almost never pass up a free book. I’ve been wanting to re-explore the religion of my roots (Catholicism), so I figured, why not? I read the first fifty pages before the midnight mass began, and I found myself wanting to finish it and see what awaited the rest of the reading.
What awaited me were some helpful gems. Yes, I said some. I’m not going to say that this book was perfect in every chapter, but it did offer some useful advice. It addressed specific prayers, how Jesus would run an airline, the central idea to being the best-version-of-ourselves, and what would happen if Christians behaved like Christians.
My favorite part was the format of a prayer. A chapter was devoted to outlining the various parts of a prayer. Somewhere along the way I had forgotten how to pray, so this was a helpful inclusion.
Other parts just made me cringe. One of the first few chapters states how “politically correct” the world has become. I become automatically wary of people, especially authors and their books, who have a negative opinion on “political correctness,” as the concept is more about respecting people as beautifully varied human beings rather than simply avoiding offense. Another part that made me cringe was in chapter thirty-six, “The Biggest Lie.” This chapter states that the biggest lie about Christianity is that holiness is not possible. But that alone is not what made me cringe; the author continues by saying that the lie is “the holocaust of Christian spirituality.”
There is a difference between “a” holocaust and “the” holocaust. The first is a vague concept of the word’s original meaning; the second is the horrible tragedy of genocide brought on by Hitler. I believe that it is in bad taste to compare something to “the” holocaust for a shock-and-awe effect, and this seems to be exactly what the author did.
The writing itself was repetitive, often repeating the same examples and themes through multiple chapters. In a single chapter, Kelly uses the word “radical” in almost every sentence. It was tiring to read through that chapter.
The book was overall an easy read with forty chapters in total, each chapter being no more than a few pages. I liked how the book was set up this way to incorporate the option of reading it for the Lenten season. Each chapter ended with a section that included a Point to Ponder, a Verse to Live, a Question to Consider, and a Prayer to tie the chapter together.
The mix of gems and cringe-worthy moments led me to my rating of three stars. I would recommend this book to Christians who are looking for an easy read that navigates the Christian faith in a new perspective.
This review has also been posted on Goodreads.
Picture from Goodreads.