Format: Trade Paperback
Religion - Christian Life
Multnomah graciously sends me books if I will write a review - a match that is very much enjoyed. This selection, The Pressure's Off by Dr. Larry Crabb, was a mixed read. The book was originally published in 2002 and recently released again this year, and included a workbook section as well as an afterword entitled, A Ten-Year After Afterward.
While there is much to be enjoyed in the book, I can't help but feel that it did not accomplish the task intended. If the sub title is to believed, Breaking Free from Rules and Performance, the book does not help there. Dr. Crabb consistently challenges his readers to pursue the new way of living and forsake the old. The old way is one of striving to receive blessings from God and the new way is to simply desire God. Who could possibly argue with that? The frustration comes in with describing the new way of living. The challenge to avoid living in the old way for the new way is expressed often. If the pressure is off, it certainly is not off in the attempt to assure that we do not slip back into the old way of living. We must pursue the new way and forsake the old. Every decision, every choice, every attitude should be evaluated to make sure we are not in the old way. The pressure seemed immense to me to make sure that I am not living in the old way but the new. I am left with the nagging feeling that it was necessary to live a new way rule in order to break the old way rule.
Another frustration is that the book takes forever to actually get to the book's message, and even when it does, it is extremely vague. In a nutshell the point is that we are to abide in Christ, seek Him first, and not just the blessings, and to endure hardship in this life for God's glory. This life is not all there is and God does not promise us happiness here. God promises to be with us, in us, and to bring us into a deeper relationship with Him through Jesus. These points eventually come through but not until very late in the book.
Aside from those two negatives the book is well written and even with my frustrations over the new way old way pressure, the goal of abiding in Christ does come shining through. There are some excellent concepts included in the book so let me highlight a few:
"We no longer depend on a linear relationship between performance and blessings to arrange for the life we want."
"Only the mature value the blessings of presence over the blessing of presents."
"We prefer a vending-machine God to a sovereign, personal one. "
"The plain fact that we moderns have trouble grasping is that God is not cooperating with our agenda to make this world a safe and wonderful place to live. "
Dr. Crabb does an excellent job of challenging his readers to pursue Christ for the sake of the relationship and intimacy; not for the possible blessings received, and that is an excellent point and makes the book well worth reading.
Dr. Jeff Klick
Juvenile Fiction - Religious - Christian - Fantasy
Fiction - Christian - General