28/01/2015

I was Just Wandering (by Jeff Lucas)

I like Jeff Lucas’s books. He’s a Christian writer and speaker who comes from the UK but lives in the US, and who describes himself (if the blurb on the back of this book is to be believed) as a Mr Bean of the Christian faith. He writes with self-deprecating and refreshing honesty sprinkled with a little humour. I was introduced to his books by a friend a few years ago, and have gradually been collecting them ever since.

‘I was just wandering’ is one of my most recent acquisitions, given to me for my birthday last year. I’ve been reading it for the past ten days or so, first thing in the morning, as a kind of ‘thought for the day’. It’s not really a book to read straight through; each chapter is short, just three or four pages long, and each stands alone. On most days I read two chapters, sometimes more.

The subjects covered are quite a mixed bunch, on the general theme of feeling awkward or out of place in churches or with other groups of Christians. In the preface, Jeff Lucas explains that his walk of faith is more like that of John Cleese doing a ‘silly walk’ than John the Apostle; that any time he feels he’s taken a step forward, it’s usually followed by a couple of steps in the other direction.

It resonated strongly. As did most of the rest of the book. Each short chapter starts with an anecdote from the author’s life, told in his usual ironic way that often puts him in a poor light; I could relate to him in many ways, and often felt a great deal of sympathy. He rants (very gently) against those who use Scripture to justify bad decisions, those who are convinced they hear from God about every facet of their day, those who use jargon, those who refuse to acknowledge that they’re having a bad day… yet he’s never unfair.

He doesn’t blame other Christians for being better (or apparently so) than he is; he admires their dedication and commitment. But at the same time he finds himself backing away, feeling out of place.

Jeff Lucas loves the church and his fellow believers, and I suspect he’s a great deal more ‘normal’ than he suggests, and I don’t intend that in a derogatory way. It’s refreshing to read of someone who remains honest about his feelings and temptations, and I found it very thought-provoking. There’s no deep theology here, and nothing particularly new; just different ways of looking at the world and at fellow Christians.

Highly recommended. Available in Kindle form as well as paperback.

Review by copyright 2015 Sue's Book Reviews

No comments: