I recently finished listening to the audiobook version of Francis Chan's Crazy Love. It was not as part of one of the reviewer programs, although I did get it free through christianaudio's monthly free audiobook title (something I highly recommend everyone take advantage of if you don't already).
This is an absolutely wonderful book that I highly recommend (although I don't want to say too much and make people's expectations too high--that causes problems, too :) ).
One of the best parts of this audiobook is that Chan read it himself--a problem I noted in Piper's A Sweet and Bitter Providence. I've started listening to his next book, Forgotten God, and that starts with an interview with him, where he admits he is not a great reader. I have to agree--it sounds like he's reading most of the time. However, I would not want it any other way because you can hear his passion, and that's more important than other benefits of a professional narrator.
To the content of the book: This is one book that has made me remember to worship God. Those words sound so flat as I write them because they are overused and misused. But Chan does a phenomenal job of making this a bit of a devotional. Really, I think this book is best described as a devotional. You can get a sense of this from the videos on the Crazy Love website, which Chan integrates into the book creatively. As he says in the interview preceding the other book, one person introduced him at a speaking engagement by saying what he talks about is so simple. It's reminding us of the basic, fundamental things about life and God.
The premise of the book is that God is in love with us and wants us to love him. As I'm writing this, again, I'm finding my review sounds so lame and does not express the true beauty of Chan's words and God's creation.
Chan's argues that we need to respond to God with "crazy love," meaning actions that may seem "crazy" to the world because we are relying on God for everything. Not that we should be actively looking to be crazy, but that we should be willing to be radical. Honestly, some of Chan's examples of crazy love seem truly crazy (i.e. a missionary physician getting all of his teeth pulled so that he would never have to leave the mission front due to teeth problems again--I'm not sure God would actually ask us to do that). However, he also says that these are not prescriptions for what everyone has to do--we all have to listen to what God has called each of us individually to do. I appreciate and agree with that.
One of the points that I particularly appreciated from his book is that it helped me remember to act out my priorities. Many of us can say God and family is first, but what does that actually look like? It can have quite a few definitions, all of which can be good and valid. However, one of the things Chan reminds his readers is that all they do will basically be forgotten in 50 years. There's some exceptions, but at least for me, that helps my anxiety about feeling like I have to do something big, as I have discussed in an earlier post. Chan also states we should not be asking why God has allowed hunger and suffering in the world. Instead, God should be asking US why WE allow hunger and suffering in the world.
The way he approached this made me think of it in a new way that motivates me to act more and live out of love. It's hard to describe, maybe in part because I'm still processing. One of the ways I'm processing it will be in another post tomorrow.
Overall, this book does a great job of challenging our fundamental beliefs of how we act in response to God. Again, he does not necessarily say anything new that most of us haven't heard before, but for me, he says it in a way that feels quite new. Most of my posts focus on existential, cognitive beliefs related to faith, not necessarily how we live out our faith or believe we should live out our faith. This book tackles that in the best way I've ever seen.