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Book Review – Move Toward the Mess – HuffPost

Is Jesus boring?

That’s the question John Hambrick asks in his latest book Move Toward the Mess: The Ultimate Fix for a Boring Christian Life[1]. Hambrick’s focus is on moving us out of the church walls and toward the mess – “the chaos of humanity – in all the bad decisions, all the complicated circumstances…all the crises that defy simple answers.” In other words, Hambrick wants us to move away from the boring Christian life, which he admittedly lived for years, and live more like Jesus did.

Mess – “the chaos of humanity – in all the bad decisions, all the complicated circumstances…all the crises that defy simple answers.”

Are we as Christians really bored?

Hambrick couches his premise with a startling statistic[2]: 31% of young adults who leave the Christian church say boredom is one of the major reasons why. The prescription for boredom? Get outside of the church walls because “excitement is found where Jesus is at work – out in the world.”

Move Toward the Mess is organized into two sections. The first section provides the reader with stories about people who have actually moved toward the mess and are living out an exciting faith. For example, in chapter four, Hot Dogs and Prayers, Hambrick tells the story of Peter and Jessica Gross, who live in a rough area of Atlanta complete with crack houses and prostitutes.

Peter and Jessica are Christians who setup a hot dog stand in their rough neighborhood, but they weren’t selling hot dogs. They gave them away and asked how they could pray for those people who took the hot dogs. This influenced Leroy and Janelle Lamar, who lived in the same rough neighborhood, to start a non-profit that enabled girls to get out of prostitution and into a vocation where they could make a living.

This is the embodiment of moving toward the mess! The second section gives practical advice for moving toward the mess. For instance, chapter sixteen broaches a common question many Christians would ask about this radical lifestyle: do I have to quit my job and pursue this full-time? (spoiler alert: the answer is no!).

The subsequent chapter helps the reader deal with burnout. After all, the lifestyle Hambrick talks about in Move Toward the Mess isn’t one that is easy (he even admits it can be messy and uncomfortable). Ultimately, the book is worth the read for any Christian who seeks to do more for God.

It was certainly convicting for me, as I am very tempted to stay in my comfort zone and avoid moving toward the mess. And it has inspired me to think through how I can better serve those around me….including those I might otherwise shy away from. Give this book a shot and see if it has the same impact on your faith as it has on mine!

Russell Clayton, Ph.D. is a college professor, author, and speaker.

His latest book In Search of Work-Life Balance: A Small Book with a Faith-Based Approach to a Large Problem[3] is available now.

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References

  1. ^ Move Toward the Mess: The Ultimate Fix for a Boring Christian Life (www.amazon.com)
  2. ^ startling statistic (www.barna.com)
  3. ^ In Search of Work-Life Balance: A Small Book with a Faith-Based Approach to a Large Problem (www.amazon.com)

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