Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches by Johnnie Moore

4 out of 5 Stars
Author: Johnnie Moore
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Buy Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches
Reading Level: Easy

Dirty God is a book about grace. Grace embodied in the incarnate Son of God dying on the cross for all those who would believe. Johnnie Moore says,
All the religion of the world are after God’s attention. They throw their roses, tie their strings, and plead for their deity to give them--at least--a passing glance.

Muslims have their “Five Pillars.” Sikhs have their “Five K’s.” Hindus ring bells when they enter their temples to awaken their gods to their presence. Muslims pray five times a day and steady their lives to the Koran, and every day Hindu priests on the banks of the Ganges River scream, plead, bang metal, twirl fire, and ring bells to try to attract the attention of any one of their many gods.

All of that racket and ruckus, all of thaat noise and devotion, is informed by one simple belief: men and women believe they have to work very hard to get their gods to turn their faces toward them. (Kindle Location 408 of 3275)
Johnnie writes with a certain approachability and readability. Dirty God reads like a story. A kind of mosaic interlacing the grace of God within the experience of Johnnie and others. Theses stories especially focus on the suffering, fringes, and sinners. Johnnie says, “The premise of this book is that God’s relationship with people is primarily defined as a relationship of grace, and grace should make us better people and make the world a better place” (Kindle Location 1844 of 3275). This grace we receive then changes the way we live, the way we forgive.

That leads me to my only objection. Johnnie includes a chapter in which he shares the story of the Amish girls murdered by Charles Carl Roberts IV (if you’re unfamiliar you can read about this murder here). The Amish forgave Mr. Robert and also attended his funeral. He reports them saying, “it was not their place to judge [Mr. Roberts]. Amish leaders even asked their community to refrain from thinking of Roberts as evil” (Kindle Location 2069 of 3275). I’m a firm believer in forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35) but something about this story doesn’t rub me right. It almost cheapens forgiveness. The gospel not only forgives but it speaks honestly about our sinfulness. The Amish passed over the sinfulness and only forgave. I’m sure Johnnie would agree that the gospel produces forgiveness and truth about sin. I’m not sure this story fits the gospel narrative.

I enjoyed Dirty God. The writing as I said was refreshing. Reminded me of just the right mix of doctrine and story like Wednesday’s Were Pretty Normal. If you want a book that will engage and teach, this book will achieve that end. It will comfort you in the struggle of every day life. A life Jesus lived. A life he provides grace for and empowers you to share that grace with others as you live.

A free copy of this book was provided by Thomas Nelson. If you plan on purchasing Dirty God: Jesus in the Trenches, consider supporting Grace for Sinners by purchasing from Amazon.

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