Monday, April 23, 2007

Book Review: I'm OK -- You're Not: The Message We're Sending Nonbelievers and Why We Should Stop

I have had so many great thoughts pop into my mind the past several nights in a row after reading another section of this book. But now as I sit in front of the computer, they all seem to slip away! I'm still going to give it my best, and hopefully I will end up sounding just as witty as (I thought) I did in my head.

I have had my own moments of saying all the wrong things to non-Christians, some close friends, some acquaintances -- some even complete strangers. I don't doubt some of you have done the same, and maybe even, like myself, cringe when you look back on those times. What are we doing wrong? What can we do differently? What do non-Christians really think of Christians these days?

Author John Shore does an excellent job of answering all of these questions. Again, as in my previous book review, I find there are some comments/views that the author gives with which I am not in full agreement. But on the whole, I feel that every single Christian should read this book and really pay attention to what is going on in our world. Or to put it more plainly, to what we have been saying and doing to alienate those in our world.

First, the main point the author is making is that, while The Great Commission ('go out into all the world and preach the gospel...') is so very, very important, it seems that Christians have climbed on board to that way of thinking so passionately that we have sometimes forgotten The Great Commandment -- 'Love thy neighbor as thyself.' Shore makes a strong argument for really getting to know people, and love them just as they are, rather than letting them know how we think they need to be living their lives.

Second, this guy is just plain funny. I know there are many different sorts of humor, but I feel that Shore's wittiness and sometimes self-deprecation would connect with just about everybody. I don't do this often, but I actually found myself laughing out loud at most of the book -- in the doctor's office, no less! Chapter titles such as 'How Dare They Leave When We're Offending Them' and 'So Being Born Again Isn't the Same as Being Mature?' caught me in a way that I knew I wanted to keep reading (that and the fact that I agreed to review this book).

Third, I'm OK -- You're Not isn't all about the laughs. There is plenty of humor, to be sure, but I feel that in order to not get too upset about damage we may have done there is kind of a need to approach the subject in a bit of a joking way. Shore is smart enough to realize that it probably isn't the best idea to preach at people about how they've been preaching at other people too much. It also seems that, after reading what the author shared about his very tragic childhood, that humor is a huge way in which he has learned to cope with some aspects of his life. That alone connected very strongly with me, because Casey and I have used laughter a lot to get through the entire past year.

My very favorite part of this book came at the end of every chapter. I truly looked forward to it, even though it is so raw and sometimes so very difficult to read. Shore titled these sections appropriately 'Ouch' because they are a collection of quotes from non-Christians sharing how they feel about Christians, or what their experiences have been with Christians. These were obtained by the author through Craigslist. A brilliant idea, but wow...there are some harsh things. Nevertheless, I think they need to be heard, and so I applaud Mr. Shore for being so innovative in getting those quotes.

Overall, I'm OK -- You're Not has been an awesome read for me. Before I had even finished the first chapter, I was telling Casey that this would be a great book to use in the campus ministry. It is just so relevant and I know that the humor would really draw students in and connect with them as it did with me.

A big thank you to John Shore for allowing me to review his book on my humble little blog!

5 comments:

Laura said...

I saw a little while ago that you were reading this and thought I might have to check it out. After your review, I'm definitely going to have to get ahold of it. Corey must have heard about it from you too, because I saw him with it this weekend. I'll be borrowing it, and I look forward to it. Thanks for the recommendation!

Sarah said...

I'm interested in this book also. I've been pretty discouraged recently about a lot of faith stuff. It is difficult to shake the feeling that so much of what I grew up with wasn't genuine. I'm connecting right now with a few friends who're definitely not Christian and I just don't want to come across the wrong way to them, ever. Thanks for the review!

tracey said...

Hey Laura -- I didn't even know you read my blog, how cool! I'm trying to remember if I said something to Corey about the book. I must have, or Casey did, I'm not sure. Either way, how neat that he is reading it. I hope you will get back to me and let me know what you thought. Thanks for your comments!

Sarah -- ditto on everything you said. Thanks for your comments, and I'd also love to hear what you think should you read the book.

johnshore said...

What a great review! This sounds to me like exactly the kind of book I should buy about 25 copies of, and then give them all to my friends for presents! Then I'm going to give a copy to the pastor of my church, and insist that he use it to teach a whole big class that everyone in the whole church has to sign up for! I think we should ALL do that! C'mon, everybody! Let's all make this book a huge bestseller!

Love,
Someone who totally isn't John Shore

tracey said...

Ooh...shameless plugging, John! =) But seriously, I think your book will be, and should be, a bestseller. Thanks for visiting and reading my review!

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