I just finished a new book: A Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God, by Larry Osborne.
I have to admit, I was prepared to dislike this book. The flyleaf promises the book is for those who "Don't fit the mold..." are "tired of adjusting to other people's definitions of spirituality..." who feel "traditional spiritual disciplines just aren't working for [them]..." To me, it seemed like it was going to be one of those throw-everything-out-the-window kind of books for anti-establishment people who are discontent with everything the church has stood for over the past several centuries and want a complete rework of everything. Those people wear me out.
This book wasn't like that at all. Obviously, there were things in it that didn't do a lot for me, but overall I really enjoyed it. Here were some of my take-aways.
- We do people a disservice when we offer them one-size-fits-all approaches to discipleship.
- It's unrealistic to expect everyone to become a Timothy or Titus. Timothy and Titus were not the standard fruit of Paul's ministry. They were exceptional. That's the point.
- Over time it was the "cobblers" left behind in Corinth who turned the ancient world upside down, just as much as the missionaries bouncing from town to town.
- Most of our programs for discipleship are linear, but few of our own journeys followed the linear path we prescribe.
- Most growth happens on a need-to-know basis.
- Bible theology and knowledge are important, but they don't equal pleasing God.
- There's a distinct difference between a blind spot and high-handed sin in another person's life.
- God hasn't called us to be world class at everything. You can't have the grace of a ballerina and the body of a sumo wrestler.
- Work to be a better you, not a poor copy of someone else.
- Many of us have a concept of a balanced life that is more a reflection of American values than biblical principles.
- Instead of asking, "how are things going," ask "Am I doing the right things?" In the end, that's all you have control over.
- An amazing number of people swear by things that ought to work but have never really worked for them.
- The recipe for maximized potential is strangely similar to the recipe for a nervous breakdown or broken home.