Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dangerous Faith - Joel Vestal

I have always enjoyed a good book from a self-deprecating author who has a few fresh ideas, or at least a few fresh ways of looking at old ideas.

I have never liked authors who are writing books that are full of common sense ideas that have been repeated time after time and using themselves as the pinnacle of the practice of these ideas.
The authors that say "I did this right at this point in time, because I am a good person, and smart, ruggedly handsome, and can leg press 605 lbs."

These same authors also use the downfalls of others to illustrate the opposite of good. "My friend Bob wanted to go to a strip club so he did. While he was there I prayed and talked to Jesus about it (Jesus appears to me in person). My friend was inside and got herpes from the toilet seat and now when he gets a rash it looks like Jesus to remind him of grace."

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce you to Joel Vestal (note: the above quotes were made up for comic relief not direct quotes from the book). However, I found Vestal's writing to be boring and full of stories about how strong his faith is and how he encourages those around him just simply be being present.

Maybe I am wrong and Vestal is really that good of a guy. In which case he will forgive me for writing this.

I did not have any problem theologically with Vestal's book, I just found it hard to connect with. Judging by the title I thought it would be a book about living out your faith in the face of dangerous circumstances and overcoming the fear of harm with faith in God. What the book is, is a memoir of Vestal's life and trips with little universal advice. Had the book been titled "Joel Vestal's Me" or "Dangerous Faith: The Life and Travels of Joel Vestal" then I would have gone into it with a different attitude.

If you like memoirs from someone who is not self-deprecating then I highly recommend it. If you do not like these types of books then I suggest you pick up something else at the book store.

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