- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
* * *
The most common form of despair is not being who you are.
Who are you?
If I were to ask you that question straight up, you might respond with some version of your Facebook profile: "Here's where I went to school; these are my favorite movies, books, and bands; I like to fish, hunt, play video games, go scuba diving, and listen to Jay-Z."
But who are you really, behind the avatars you've created for yourself? What are you covering up? What are you afraid of? What are you hoping for? Where are you going?
If you're like most people in our society, you live in a perpetual identity crisis—with countless voices competing for your attention, across a dizzying array of platforms, telling you who you are and who you ought to be.
So, who are you?
Forgive me for being so forward. I know we've only just met. I don't mean to be abrupt or intrusive. But if we're going to say anything truthful about becoming more like Jesus, surely we have to tell the truth about ourselves first. I know it's a little premature to be disrobing our souls to one another. On the other hand, if you read books the way most people do—in the bedroom or bathroom or squeezed into an uncomfortably small seat on an overcrowded airplane, shielded by the false privacy of headphones—this is already a pretty intimate thing we're doing. Besides, our lives are too important to remain hidden behind self-protective social graces. So, let's get right to it.
What if it were possible to know your true identity? What if it were possible to hear the name we were given before the foundation of the world? What if it were possible to be so truly and fully alive—so fully human—that no matter what happened, you would be able to live without fear?
My name is legion ... for we are many
One of the more arresting yet disconcerting encounters in the life of Jesus is recorded in Mark 5, when He meets a man terrorized by demons. According to the text, this was a man who "lived among the tombs" (verse 3). Despite multiple attempts to restrain him, not even chains were able to control his volatile behavior. Night and day he roamed the town, "howling and bruising himself with stones" (verse 5). Upon encountering Jesus, the demons within the man were paralyzed with fear: "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me" (verse 7). When Jesus asks the man, "What is your name?" he responds, "My name is Legion; for we are many" (verse 9).
As products of a modern Western culture, in which we seldom dare to wonder whether there is a greater force of evil in the world beyond the sum of its parts, we might find such a story laughably primitive. Given our advances in medical technology, psychology, and biochemistry, and as able as we are to live our lives in relative isolation from the realities of evil, perhaps we feel too sophisticated to take the idea of demons seriously. And yet the plight of the Gerasene demoniac has never been more relevant than in the twenty-first century.
One description of Satan in the New Testament refers to him as "the prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2, ESV). What a provocative image of evil in an age in which wireless technology has allowed us to be "connected" wherever we are, even as we're hopelessly disconnected from our identity as God's beloved children. "Living among the tombs" seems an apt description of the time we spend in the earbud-enhanced privacy of our own alternate realities, where constant access to technology drives us apart even when we're together. Research has shown that our dependence on technology is changing our brains—and, by most accounts, not for the better. In our day and age, we don't have to believe in demons to be given over to despair and distraction. We simply have to go wireless.
We are subjected to a thousand different voices competing for our attention. We present images of our lives through Facebook, Twitter, or other alternate realities, that are perhaps more reflective of who we want to be than of who we really are. It's so easy to manipulate our "identity" to suit the differing expectations of our home, school, work, religious, and social communities. Never before have we had so many forms of communication at our disposal, and yet rarely has our sense of loneliness and alienation been so profound. In an age of relentless self-expression, do we have any idea who we really are?
The question Jesus asks is a frightening one in a world given over to so many voices, so many images, so many screens, so many sounds, so many identities. In those four simple words—"What is your name?"—everything about the half-life of this man is called into question.
Whether or not we believe in the reality of demons, a truthful response to the question for many of us would be, "My name is Legion ... for we are many." Many voices, many activities, many interests, many influences.
I find it interesting that it wasn't the sight of a tormented man injuring himself with stones that frightened the Gerasene people. Just as in our day, they had become accustomed to all the noise and violence. It wasn't even the spectacle of two thousand hogs running headlong into the Sea of Galilee. No, it wasn't all the uproar that caught everyone's attention; it was seeing the former demoniac sitting next to Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, that struck fear in their hearts (Mark 5:15).
In a world where self-destructive behavior has become commonplace, the most frightening scenario may not be a global apocalypse. Perhaps the most startling thing to see is someone whom we have come to expect to be as fragmented, fractured, and self-destructive as we are, transformed into the epitome of sanity, peace, and purpose.
We're afraid, not because we would rather see the demonized man continue to harm himself—we're terrified because his transformation raises for us new possibilities for what it means to be human.
Many of Jesus' contemporaries were versed in the evocative poetry of the prophet Isaiah, with his enchanting vision of a future in which "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them" (Isaiah 11:6, esv). It's why a song such as John Lennon's "Imagine" continues to resonate—it's lovely to daydream about a world no longer plagued by the threat of famine, violence, war, or death. As long as these visions exist as a distant utopian fantasy, a counterbalance to a good zombie yarn, they don't threaten us—but neither do they really inspire us.
In a world beleaguered by famine, violence, war, and death, it is far more shocking to see other people who were once as haunted as we are no longer playing by the old rules. In a society in which it is more the norm than the exception for people to have conflicting centers of value and meaning inside their hearts and minds, it is much scarier to encounter people who are sane. If it is possible for one person to transcend the madness and become something other than he or she once was, then it is possible for all of us. And that means the future is no longer a speculative pipe dream. It means the future is upon us. The future is now.
In the life and ministry of Jesus, we see the wonder and chaos of the future breaking into the present. Before the resurrection of Jesus, the account of the Gerasene demoniac was an awful but beautiful foretaste of a new way to be human. We don't know the man's name—it could have bee
Excerpted from prototype by jonathan martin. Copyright © 2013 by Jonathan Martin. Excerpted by permission of TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
foreword by Steven Furtick.................... xi
1 identity.................... 1
2 beloved.................... 21
3 obscurity.................... 45
4 calling.................... 67
5 wounds.................... 87
6 resurrection.................... 115
7 sacraments.................... 141
8 community.................... 173
9 witness.................... 195
epilogue: letter to a ravaged bride.................... 209
discussion guide.................... 225
about the author.................... 235
Posted July 12, 2013
There are so many things in this world that lead us to believe that we have to be successful, wealthy, beautiful, etc., to be worthy of love. On the contrary, God tells us to be still, and know that He is love, and that we were created in His image. If God says we are worthy of Love, who are we to doubt that?
Jesus Christ, God’s beloved, is our Prototype, therefore—we are beloved.
An inspiring, uplifting, and life-strengthening look at our likeness to God’s son. In Prototype, Jonathan Martin reminds us to live our lives with this reassurance.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Review Copy free from the NetGalley book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 30, 2013
Jonathan Martin has written an eye opener of a book with Prototype, What happens when you discover your more like Jesus than you
think? From beginning to end Jonathan uses personal stories, humor, scripture and at times statements that make you wake up
and take notice that your are more like Jesus than you realize. That you are God’s beloved.
I always like it when I find the ‘what if’s” in a book, and Jonathan hit me with some great ones just pages into the book.
“What if the ultimate goal of everything Jesus said and did was not to get us to believe certain things about Him,
but to become like Him? What if it were possible to become fully human in all ways that Jesus was? What if Jesus were
God’s prototype for a whole new way of being human?”
Through out the book Jonathan shows us that we need to completely trust that God loves us just like Jesus did.
Understand that we are God’s beloved, and be confident in who we are and what are purpose is. Jesus understood that he was
God’s beloved and, as Jonathan perfectly puts it, “unlike every other person in human history….He never forgot.” Prototype will help
you realize you can be more like Jesus, and you are more like Jesus than you realize.
Posted August 9, 2013
"What happens when you discover you're more like Jesus than you think?" is one of the main questions that Jonathan Martin asks in this book. Because the subject matter is of interest to me, I was prepared to enjoy this book - and was definitely not disappointed. Nor will you be.
What would it look like to live in your true identity as God's creation, his sons and daughters? To be completely free to be who He created you to be, to have your identity defined in and by Him, not your stuff, your job, or what others say you should be and do? These questions and many more are discussed and answered in this book.
I find it's usually a bit of a challenge to review and fully do justice in describing a non-fiction book, as they typically combine so many factors - stories, real-life examples and illustrations, practical application - this book certainly does that and more - and I find that what I might share with you now can't communicate the richness and flavor found here. What I can tell you is that a) Mr. Martin's style of writing appeals to my sense of humor and communication style....broad enough that I bet it will speak to you as well; and b) if you have ever attended a church, any church, and found yourself a tiny bit or wholly dissatisfied, left wanting, whatever....you will especially enjoy "Letter to a Ravaged Bride" at the end.
Get it. Read it. Chew on it for a while. I for one am glad I didn't check this one out of the library but have it on my iPad to re-read and share. :)
Posted July 25, 2013
Good, But Not Great. This has some memorable quotes and verses that are worth exploring further, but it felt to me somewhat inconclusive, or just scratching the surface of the concepts. The prototype idea is intriguing, but it wasn't developed to the point where I could grasp it. This book seemed to be addressed to those who are already Christians, as encouragement. There were plenty of reasons to be encouraged, but it seemed to be lacking something. I'm not sure why his message was obscure to me; possibly because I didn't have the experience he had as a child, or because his upbringing was so different from mine. Possibly it was because his writing was so repetitive. I plan to read it again, to see if I can get more out of it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 20, 2013
Love the way this book was written. It had a fresh perspective on being close to Jesus. Martin is awesome at painting the picture of the people Jesus hangs out with, and loves. ALL kinds of people. I love his childhood stories and his frankness.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 15, 2013
What a relatable authentic testimony.
Like the boy on the bike, I was the little girl who dance to the lyrics and rhythms of Godspell. He was sewing His Word into my heart molding, folding, and making me into the woman He desires for me to step out and be. Now, in my adulthood, I long to reconnect with God like the innocent little girl I once was. Before I knew grandparents died, boys broke hearts, and words left wounds that last a lifetime. I long to live out the new life, the prototype Christ modeled for broken humanity.
The reader will long to visit Mr. Martin's church. A place for 'dreamers, liars, and misfits' The mantra of my own testimony a dream of life as it once was, a life that can never be, a life God can make into more than I as a sinful individual can ask or imagine. The reader will long for a church like this that reaches out to a broken world, meeting in a broken place (a rundown mall), and meeting broken people right were they are.
Prototype is a story of love and encountering the wildness of the Holy Spirit, experiencing the sadness of reality, and journeying into a whole new unrealized intersection. Reclaim Jesus as one's own Beloved.
Prototype is about living out one's own faith one step at a time. Living in freedom and believing in Him. Jesus is real and He is with us. Need a fresh awakening. Want more from a church than just Sunday mornings, the image of perfection, suits and ties. Let true brokenness and revelation lead to real healing.
I received this book free from Tyndale.
Posted July 8, 2013
"Jesus is God and we are not. Most of us get that. But what we don’t always understand is that God loves us just as much as He does His son." That is the basis of Prototype, written by Jonathan Martin of Renovatus church in North Carolina. The idea that Jesus is a prototype was interesting. The author is a decent storyteller and the book was an easy read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 1, 2013
I enjoyed this book. The author encourages readers to accept that God loves us unconditionally and we just need to believe that. Sometimes we are so busy with day to day life and all our electronic gadgets that we don't take the time to be still and listen to God's voice. We get tricked into thinking that we need to be successful and compare ourselves to others to gauge whether or not we are successful, but the fact is that we are beloved by God. Despite all of our scars, wounds, our pasts, we are beloved by God and need to move forward accepting that. Our faces we put forth to others don't really matter because God sees us as we are and we are beloved by Him.
This is a book I will definitely read again and again. It is very encouraging and inspiring. It would make a great gift for others, especially someone engaged in a struggle.
Posted May 14, 2013
This book has been such a help to me. I don't think I ever truly grasped how much God loved me even before I ever did a thing for Him. I feel such a relief in knowing that.
While I don't want to be in the "wilderness," I now see that when I'm there it's a great time to grow in intimacy with my Creator. I highly recommend this and hope Pastor Martin continues to write!