Friday, May 1, 2009

The Unexpected Adventure (review)

Well, thanks to Zondervan, I wasable to once again pre-screen a book due out this month. This book is Lee Strobel's latest, a work co-authored by Mark Mittelberg. It comes out in May, 2009. The Unexpected Adventure is primarily about how to naturally, organically, and intentionally share your faith with others.

It is an evangelistic book, and a very entertaining one at that. Instead of simply giving strategies or analogies to use, Strobel and Mittelburg have a nuanced view of what it means to talk to others about Jesus. I am not much of an evangelist myself, so I found many of the chapters to be very challenging. Each chapter is brief (four or five pages), and is a principle hidden within an anecdote. The vast majority of the book is personal stories from the two authors, who take turns writing chapters, which are expounded on to demonstrate the principle within. It is a very engaging way to promote an idea, through personal testimony. As Tod Hunter said, "people observe their way into the Kingdom."

It is intended to be a six week long book, reading one chapter a day. After about week two, the book becomes repetitive. While I appreciate this approachable view of evangelism, The book simply became dull after a while, because there are three emphases that repeatedly come out: 1) evangelism should be natural, but needs to be practiced to become so. 2) evangelism must come from a base of relationship. 3) You will play one part in the long journey from disbelief to belief, so don't get worked up when someone doesn't commit to Christ then and there.

There are different ways of expressing these points, but they are the keys to the book, and are well-illustrated.

Does the book serve a purpose? Yes. Is the book "inspiring"? More less. Is the book the next hot thing? Maybe within traditional evangelical circles and megachurches, but it's no Shack (tic). If you are specifically looking for a story-based approach to sharing your faith and how to practically do so, it might be worth a look. 4 out of 5 stars simply because it is easily approachable and not dull (for the first half of the book).

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