18/01/2008

Love Beyond Reason (by John Ortberg)

There are a few modern Christian writers whose work I find thought-provoking and enjoyable. One of my relatively recent discoveries is John Ortberg, a pastor in the USA. He writes an a light, almost flippant style at times, with plenty of anecdotes, a dose of humour, and some rather different ways of expressing Christian truths.

'Love Beyond Reason' is, basically, an explanation of what it really means to be loved by God. In the opening chapter he writes about his sister's much loved rag doll (in her childhood), as an analogy for the way God sees us. In this, and elsewhere in the book, I was reminded of Brennan Manning's excellent 'The Ragamuffin Gospel'. I also found hints, here and there, of the concepts explored in Philip Yancey's classic 'What's so Amazing about Grace?'.

Still, this book stands alone and focuses perhaps more single-mindedly than either of those two books on the different aspects of God's love. Ortberg writes about knowing we are loved, about forgiveness, and second chances, and what it truly means to be loved in this way.

I read it over a couple of weeks, just ten pages or so each day. There were anecdotes scattered throughout, often making his points clearly. In a sense there was nothing new, but at the same time it's good to be reminded of what it really means to follow Jesus and be loved by God.

Definitely recommended to any Christians in any doubt about this; also might be of interest to those who cannot easily reconcile the apparent unloving aspect of so many Christians today. This book is about ideals, and is a great reminder of what is really important.

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