It doesn’t happen very often. I usually try to find at least some good point in any book I’ve been asked to review. After all, every book has at least one good point, right?
Sure, some books are just unreadable and quite frankly I’ve only ever been asked to review a couple of them. But honesty forbids me any false-ness when it comes to books and what I like and don’t like. And this book, sorry as I can be IVP Academic (and especially Adrianna), is just purely annoying and nearly unreadable.
Not only have I found it unpleasant, I’ve found it downright appalling. It made my head hurt and it nearly caused me to have an aneurysm. The neo-pagan mysticism which its author seems to represent was to my spirit the equivalent of scrapping fingernails on the blackboard.
It’s not that I’m opposed to deep spirituality. I’m not. What I am opposed to though, because of my Reformed background, my love of Zwingli and Brunner, and my general personal disposition, is any drawing from or upon even remotely eastern-sounding practices married to Christianity.
When the author of the book in question (on whom see the link above for the title and author) described the sayings of Jesus as the equivalent of Zen Buddhist ‘sayings’ he lost me. He lost me and he never regained me.
To be sure, he tells good stories. But the stench of eastern philosophy so filled the air that my nostrils were stung and I just read along with a disposition best called unsympathetic.
I’m as sorry as I can be but I can’t recommend this volume. Of late I’ve been a huge fan of IVP Academic as they’ve been putting out some quality stuff. This volume, however, is better suited to HarperOne or Polebridge Press.
So what does one do when one cannot – in good conscience – commend a volume? One doesn’t recommend it. And this one, I don’t, and can’t. My reaction to it, to be charitable, is the same reaction Emil Brunner had to the work of Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher; with one difference- I’m not going to take this out and burn it.