Batterson, Primal

Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of National Community Church in D.C.  His church meets in rented space and has set up a coffee shop (and a decent one, apparently) in the space that they actually own.  So, as a church planter using rented space I feel a certain amount of camaraderie.  Also, having read Batterson’s, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, I know that we think alike also.  When reading that book, I was going back and forth between saying, “well, of course” and “do you mean to tell me that there are Christians out there who are afraid of adventure!?!”.

So, when the publishers offered me a free book if I blogged on it I of course took them up on the offer.  Yep, this book was free for me if I blogged it and put a link to RandomHouse so you could buy it too.  Which I do for myself (and whoever else reads) as a discipline to review my learnings.  But, since I got this free, I’ll point out what I didn’t like so that you can trust my good points and not think that I am a cheap date.

Primal was a bit of a confusing book to nail down the premise.  The front page claims that the book is looking for the lost soul of Christianity, the back cover claims that our generation needs a reformation, and the introductory chapter seeks to return to the ancient ways of Christianity that our spiritual ancestors practiced.  So, when I tried to orient myself it was difficult.  The Primal bit seemed like it fit the marketing of the book well, so it was put in there.  In the actually pages I actually crossed out the word primal a bunch of times because it just seemed unneccessary to make the points.  The content itself is divided up into 4 sections: the heart, soul, mind and strength of Christianity. The third part of the book was best for me.  Most likely because I connect with God most naturally through the mind.

Throughout the book there’s a lot of catchy sayings, the kind of things that preachers use.  I thought it was funny how I could hear Batterson preaching during those parts.  It makes for catchy preaching, but it creates a too easy target my evil cynicism.  He also starts a lot of sections of the book by either naming a famous friend, a prominent conference he was at, or a cool vacation he was on.  It actually made me laugh out loud how often this tool was used.

Now that the harsh part is over, here’s my 10 take-aways from this book:

  1. p.9 The conviction of the Holy Spirit is great.  It’s so painful and so necessary.
  2. “The problem isn’t Christianity at large.  The problem is you and me.  The problem is that we are not great at the Great Commandment.”  I loved the personalization of this statement.  I’m tired of Christians complaining about the church at large.  But then he throws in the catchy thing at the end and it just made me giggle.
  3. p.23, “If you can’t laugh at my jokes, we can’t work together.”  I thought that was a strange statement.  It made me wonder if I can work with people who can’t laugh at my jokes.  I don’t think I want to, but I would hope to add that if we want to work together I need to laugh at you too.
  4. p.28, What will kill you if you don’t do it?
  5. p.67, he writes a story about something his kid did and then says, “Adults don’t do that.”  The funny part is that it’s something LJ and I do and we think it’s hilarious.  I suck at being adult.
  6. p.69, I wrote, “makes me feel normal.”  I think that’s what I like most about Batterson’s writing.  He and I seem to see the world in a similar fashion so I always go away encouraged by his stuff.
  7. During this book I decided to read through the Bible again next year.  I think I want to read through the ESV.  So I need to get one, but cheap.
  8. Knowing and doing had no distinction in ancient Jewish thought.
  9. book writing tip for aspiring authors: read Einstein.  Then quote him.  The guy was so freaking genius that just quoting him makes your book awesome.
  10. p. 121, “The more you pray the more you notice.  The less you pray, the less you notice.”
  11. I need to read The Life of Pi.
  12. p.136, quoting Nolan Bushnell, “Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has had an idea…It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it who makes  a difference.”
  13. When God said let there be light, it all started.  Since the universe is expanding God is still letting there be light.  His very first statement is still working to this day.  So if we could build a telescope that can see the very edge of the universe then we’d be able to watch the very beginning of creation.  SNAP!

pages read= 179 ~ year to date= 6863 ~ 2009 goal=9,000 ~ (76%)

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