June 17, 2007 archive

The Purpose Driven Life – Book Review

It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ, …he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone. -Ephesians 1:11-

I received this book as a gift – otherwise I probably wouldn’t have read it. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, and when I do it is not usually self-help or inspirational nonfiction. The Purpose Driven Life is meant to be read slowly over 40 days – one chapter a day. My husband and I read it together and discussed it; and in this regard it was a good experience.

As a Christian, I believe that Christ is our savior and died for our sins. I believe in the power of prayer. I believe there are ways to live our lives which make us better people and give our lives purpose. In many ways, this is what Rick Warren writes about – the problem with the book is twofold:

1. Warren repeats everything again and again and again. At some points, I wanted to scream “Okay, I get it!” Some of the information is so basic I felt Warren was talking down to the reader.
2. Warren presents an exceptionally narrow way of viewing the world which I felt was not inclusive enough. He made me feel that if I didn’t subscribe to his interpretation of God’s word, than I was not the ‘right kind of Christian.’ I’ve always hated that view – it makes me uncomfortable and it doesn’t feel correct to me. I didn’t appreciate the subtle judgment against other faiths which was woven into the text

On the up side, Warren presents information clearly, concisely and gives the reader a series of questions and meditations to strengthen his points. The book is well organized.

I’m afraid I can’t recommend this book to a lot of people – even some Christians (like myself) may feel the book talks down to them and doesn’t resonate fully with their beliefs. If you are a person who loves inspirational and religious philosophy, you may want to give it a try.

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