Primal by Mark Batterson … a book review

I have been following the blog of Mark Batterson, pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C., for a while now.  I recently saw that he was releasing a new book and was giving bloggers the opportunity to receive a free copy of this book in exchange for reading and reviewing it on their blogs.  I signed up for the chance, and for whatever reason … my blog was selected to review the book “Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity”

After reading his previous books “In a pit with a lion on a snowy day” and “Wild Goose Chase” I was excited to receive my free copy of “Primal” from Multnomah Books, and have enjoyed reading this latest offering from Batterson.

Batterson centers this book on the Great Commandment and says …”the quest for the lost soul of Christianity begins with rediscovering what it means to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.”  Batterson challenges that it is not enough to just love God with your heart or soul or mind or strength … loving God in one way isn’t enough.

After a visit “to a rather non-descript church off the beaten path” during a visit to Rome, Mark began to wonder if “our generation has conveniently forgotten how inconvenient it can be to follow in the footsteps of Christ.” Over the centuries Christianity has evolved in lots of ways and Batterson’s challenge is for Christianity to see a reformation, but that this reformation won’t come from the pursuit of finding some new program or system; but that it would come from a return to our primal instincts of compassion (heart), wonder (mind), curiosity (soul), and power (strength).  The book is broken down into four sections each striving to go further into the heart, mind, soul, and strength of Christianity.  Batterson’s writing style is easy to read and littered with illustrations that include personal experiences, scientific and historical studies as well as scripture and application.

I’d be happy to recommend this book to my small group leaders or pastors who are looking for a sermon series.  Although I’m positive that it won’t take an author or a cleverly written book to begin to call Christians to a reformation, I do hope for the day when reformation/revival will sweep across the globe.  I know that everyone is different and not everyone will appreciate this book or feel like it is something that was earth-shattering for them … however, if “Primal” gets even a few Christ followers to return to seeking, serving and worshipping god with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength, then I think it is well worth it.

At a time of the year when people seem to be making resolutions and setting goals for the new year, if returning to the roots of Christianity and digging deeper into the Great Commandment of Christ would fit in your list, then consider  “Primal” as one of the first books you read at the beginning of 2010.  You can get it by clicking this link: “Primal”

I pray that as you read that you will be challenged not only to further your understanding of the concept of what it means to love God, but that you will be called to act on that understanding, and thus the reformation begins…

-E

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