Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stumbling Souls: Is Love Enough by Chris Plekenpol



This is one of those books I most likely would have overlooked if not for a few things. The cover is cool, but not attention-grabbing for me. And when I glanced at the back cover blurp, I thought to myself, "Really? A Christian guy takes in a homeless guy? A homosexual homeless guy? An HIV positive homeless guy?

Is he NUTS?"

Turns out, yup, he was nuts...crazy...off-center. And I want to be like him. Like Chris Plekenpol, author of "Stumbling Souls: Is Love Enough". What a guy God is molding him to be!

To begin with, Chris is an excellent writer. Reading his true story, I felt like I was there, in his Bible study group, sitting in his car with James and listening to them talk...I was there.

Chris is also an honest writer. He does always come out smelling like a rose, looking like a 'mighty warrior of the faith'. Instead, he comes across as real. Someone I could have a real, honest conversation with about anything...especially my struggles.

When Chris took a leap of faith and asked James to eat with him and his friends, he had no idea the long journey God was about to take him on. He had thoughts of helping James be changed by Jesus...I think more often than not, Chris was changed by Jesus.

The back of the book asks this question: "What does it look like when believers dare to radically love those who are the hardest to love but most desperate to be loved?"
It looks like "Stumbling Souls", holding one hand out to Jesus and holding on to someone who needs Jesus with the other.

So much on living out our faith, reaching the disenfranchised in our society, and sharing the love of Christ unconditionally is packed in this book. I've had my fill of books that blast the church for not helping the poor and glossing over the need for sharing the gospel.

This book has both hands wide open: help in one and Jesus in the other. And that's the way the church needs to--no--MUST do it. Let's be real, and let's be Jesus with skin on, how about it, church??

God just LOVES bringing me challenging books, and His timing is always perfect. I was supposed to have this reviewed several weeks ago, but I don't think my heart was tender enough until now. I have been on my own journey of loving someone in desperate need of love...

...and it has been hard. I can relate to Chris, although he's had more challenges in his situation. And the book doesn't end the way you might think or hope. It ends the way God wants it to end. Isn't that the best?

So, I'm giving "Stumbling Souls: Is Love Enough" the Golden Bookmark for Powerful and Honest Writing, and voting it "Best Christian Non-fiction Testimonial of 2010" (hard to put this one into a category, but that's kind of what it is).

My thanks to Audra for her patience and for sending me the book. "Stumbling Souls: Is Love Enough" is published by Biblica Publishing and is available at bookstores everywhere
Happy Reading!

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1 comment:

Julie said...

I am loving the wave of books coming out focused on sharing Christ's love with the unlovable. This book sounds similar to one I read recently called True Religion and also Radical by David Platt. Both are excellent books. I'm adding this one to my list!