“Our generation needs a reformation. Bu a single person won’t lead it. A single event won’t define it. Our reformation will be a movement of reformers living compassionately, creatively, courageously for the cause of Christ. This reformation will not be born of a new discovery, It will be the rediscovery of something old, something ancient. Something primal.”…..Mark Batterson
A couple of months ago, my blogger friend Stephanie emailed me to tell me about an opportunity to read and review Mark Batterson’s newest book Primal before it was released to the public. Those of you who have been here for awhile know that Mark’s book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day is special to me because gave it to my dad to read three days before we found out about his first brain tumor. God used Mark’s words to encourage my dad and he drew great strength from that book in the initial days of his fight against cancer.
Initially I was excited about the opportunity to preview Primal. However, I agreed to read the book before Dad died. By the time I received the book, I quite honestly didn’t really want to hear much about what anyone had to say about anything. The book sat unread on my desk for a few weeks. But I’d made a commitment to review the book, so I finally picked it up a couple of days ago. From the outside, it doesn’t look like a very big book, but it’s very big on the inside. As always, Mark’s conversational writing style makes for an easy read even though the challenges he makes are anything but.
Once again, I am moved by the fact that not only does God see and know the state of my heart, He continues to send me what I need for where I am. I’ve talked often over the past few months about how my Dad’s illness turned my faith upside down and shook out all the extraneous pieces. I’ve told you how I felt like my faith had become a big, empty board and that in a lot of ways I felt like I was starting over as I sifted through what I truly believed. This book is like a primer that took me back to the very basics of what Christianity was meant to be. The subtitle of the book declares it to be “a quest for the lost soul of Christianity” and it truly is. This book struck a chord with me because the past few months have shaken me to my core as a Christian. More than ever, I’ve wanted to know what and who I am at that core.
Mark Batterson takes us back to what Jesus Himself told us was the greatest commandment: to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. He builds on this theme by breaking that verse into specific pictures of what that kind of love really looks like. Sometimes the most basic tenets of our belief become so familiar to us that they lose their meaning. The Bible verses on which we hang our stated understanding of our faith become words that might as well be written in a foreign language. In Primal, Mark Batterson reminds us to heed words that we know but then details how we actually should be living those verses in our lives.
The beginning of a new year seems to always cause us to look inward and backward in hopes that we will be more than we have been in the past. I would certainly recommend Primal as a first read of the year to help focus on what really matters about what Christians say they believe. I rushed through the book last week in order to finish it on time and I feel cheated. This book is a sit-down, gourmet, multi-course meal to be enjoyed with intimate conversation among close friends, not a choke-it-down-over-the-kitchen-sink-on-your-way-to-pick-up-the-kids-at-school junk food snack. That’s why I’m taking Primal with me on my road trip next week when I’ll have time to read it slowly and completely.
Primal was published by WaterBrook Multnomah and they graciously provided a copy for me to review (but I would have bought it anyway) and they didn’t tell me I had to like it (but I do). They did ask me to tell you that you can purchase the book by clicking here.