Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Wild Side of Jesus

Untamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with AbandonUntamed: How the Wild Side of Jesus Frees Us to Live and Love with Abandon by Lisa Harper

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Through reading the book Untamed, I have become a fan of the author, Lisa Harper. Her humor is very refreshing and makes such an enjoyable read! I found myself relating to her in so many ways as my relationship with Jesus grew stronger.

In the first two pages of the book, Harper writes, "Choosing the safe but boring path is an apt metaphor for the years I spent rather numbly and halfheartedly pursuing God." This is definitely how I've become over the years (safe and boring) as I've tried to prevent chaos and pain from entering into my life. However, chaos and pain have still managed to wiggle their way into my life and my relationship with Jesus has been lukewarm. Harper invites you to "reawaken the sense of adventure God hard-wired into your soul" and Untamed surely does that!

Now, Harper has a very sharp sense of humor that some might find offensive or sacrilegious. She talks about paralytics who turn cartwheels, how Tamar's first husband and Onan were stinkers so God killed them, and she calls John the Baptist "Johnny B." I had reached a point that I thought, okay, this might be too much, but then changed my mind when two pages later I was laughing out loud at the vision of John the Baptist "with locust legs stuck between his teeth." Harper was talking about the type of people Jesus hung out with, and right after the locust legs comment, she writes a profound piece that makes your heart swell over the Jesus who loves us:
"But Jesus is the friend who lovingly sticks by every repentant sinner's side through thick and thin. Even when we blow it or get distracted by other interests, He doesn's stop loving us. In fact, Jesus' unwavering commitment to us is what ultimately compelled Him to lay down His life in exchange for ours. His devotion to broken people like us is remarkable."

Throughout the book, Harper shares her personal experiences (that I'm sure many of us can relate to) and connects them to biblical stories, illuminating the true Jesus that loves and accepts us all. The end of each chapter also has questions to help the reader dig deeper, not just within themselves but through God's Word.

I highly recommend this book and am grateful to have received it free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers in exchange for my review.

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