This week, we return to nonfiction and in particular Christian nonfiction. This week, we’re looking at Marked By Love by Tim Stevens.
This was a 200+ page narrative built around the idea that Christians are supposed to be “marked by love” and exploring what this might look like if it were more readily apparent in the life of the modern American Christian. Stevens pulls no punches, and at times it seems that he is trying to step on as many toes as possible in an effort to show that no matter how loving you may think you are, there are always areas to work to improve on in this regard.
And by and large, Stevens does an amazing job of showing his primary point in many different ways. He actually uses some of the same examples that Jonathan Merritt did in his book Learning to Speak God from Scratch two months ago, including the Good Samaritan and the adulterous woman of John 8. And in one of those points that might (and probably should) hit close to home for many, he says “What is going to be a stronger statement to a waitress – taking her away from her work to ask her about her soul and her relationship with Jesus, or treating her with grace and dignity, learning a bit about her story, and leaving a large tip? How many people just want something from her all day every day, including you with your Christian-ese questions, rather than trying to add value to her day and life?”
Overall this is an amazing book that everyone – not just Christians – should read and learn from. But it does have a few problems. It does indeed get a little too preachy at times as it relates to “being saved”, and it is a little too WASPy at times, effectively noting that members of the LGBT community are the “other”… even while decrying others being non-loving in noting the same. And it is for these two reasons alone that it went from a 5 star book to a 4 star book for me. Everything other than these two points was phenomenal, truly. And I very much agree that Stevens’ message is desperately needed for the American discourse in its current form. Just be prepared to roll your eyes a little and continue reading through these particular parts.
Very highly recommended!
As always, the Goodreads/ Amazon review:
Essential Reading. For Everyone. Christian or Not. Stevens does an excellent job of speaking his message and not really worrying about whose toes he steps on – indeed, he almost seems to make it a point at times to try to step on *everyone’s* toes in some way. Yes, the book comes across as overly preachy and overly WASPy at times. But the core of the message is absolutely essential to us all, and very likely the key to saving this nation (no matter what nation you may be in) and indeed the world. The *only* reason this book is getting 4 stars rather than 5 is specifically because of the times of overly preachy and overly WASPy – but seriously, get through those parts if you don’t like them, and concentrate on the rest of the message here.