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Monday, May 11, 2015

Book Review: Jarrid Wilson's Jesus Swagger


Sometimes you begin a book with hesitance but believe it may unravel the expectations set by the title and cover. This was not the case this time nor is it many other times. There are things to think about when naming a book "Jesus Swagger," mostly how will this sound in a few years when no one uses the word swagger. Imagine a book called "Gnarly Jesus" or "Cool Cat Jesus." Nothing is wrong with writing a book to associate with the times, but putting an era on Jesus seems limiting.

The real question is whether this book provides substance? Jarrid Wilson is always hitting on the surface of bigger points, but he never quite takes a stance drawing the reader in. There are big statements people following Christ can agree on. It's put on such a middle ground you can't disagree. Wilson discusses it in a certain way that you'll probably think that is a great realization and then wonder why you weren't thinking something like that already?

Jarrid Wilson has also written other books. He wrote 30 Words Devotional under the idea that it takes 30 days to form a new habit, and provides 30 days of ways to grow in a relationship with God using a word for each day. Jarrid Wilson is a pastor living in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife. He also has a popular blog making talk.

Jesus Swagger is his most recently released book. The focus is on breaking away from posing as a Christian, and striving to practice the characteristics of Christ. Now I definitely love the intentions behind what Jarrid is talking about.  There are a lot of people doing things in the name of Christ making people who claim the same faith like me question the roots of what they are saying? It's become troubling for those wondering about the misrepresentation of Christ's message.

Now this seems like a deep topic to handle, so upon opening the book I'm thinking we are going to go where Philip Yancey didn't go in Vanishing Grace. We are going to get a bold message questioning the specifics of people saying things in God's name that are exclusive to the outcasts, but that isn't what happens.

Instead the book centers around a younger audience than I think is even my millennial age group. The author loosely details his rebellious high school years of parties he had, and how at the time of disrespecting his parents wishes he was also professing the name of Christ. While I'm definitely someone who is all about changing from ways like that to get to the basis of trying to live a more intentional lifestyle for Christ I've observed other concerning things socially in society concerning the integration of Christ's name and it's representation of who he truly is.

I think Jarrid does a much more outspoken job on his own blog, but the book doesn't quite hit like it does. Plus I can't help that sometimes I feel what we are and not doing sometimes meshed with the guilt inducing encouragement to change your ways. Shouldn't it just be enough to want to practice a lifestyle of Christ set by the Gospel because of who he is? Not because I feel someone is thinking I'm not doing it right? Can you change someone's foundation for why they pose for Christ or determine whether they have real Jesus Swagger?

I think Jarrid has the right intentions. I don't think he's intending to guilt anyone into anything at all, it was more so just a thought associated with the topic. I do wonder what the goal of the book is? Why is it important to speak to those posing for Christ, and not the people who might be hurt in the use of the name of Christ by the posers? They seem to be the real concern for me, and yet that doesn't seem to be addressed at all. You can perhaps change the posers, but helping the ones hurt by the posing is much more difficult.

This book was provided by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for a review.

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