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Posted September 19, 2012
As a local church pastor, I get and read a lot of books. I very rarely find any one book that I feel exhausts the topic at hand or says everything in the perfect (meaning the way I think it is theologically) way. I have learned as a reader to stop looking for perfection in books (that aren't the Bible) and to start looking for books that ask great questions because it is those books that the Spirit has used in my life to grow and challenge me. The measure of a great book then is that the question and the internal wrestling continue long after I have read the last word on the last page.
That is exactly what you will find in Ray Hollenbach's "The Impossible Mentor." It is not a perfect book (at least as I define perfection) and I don't agree with all of the theological points or the implications of those points as the author fleshes them out. But what Hollenbach does do is force us to ask two very important and challenging questions, "Is it really possible to be like Jesus in this life?" and "If so, what does that mean for us?"
Those questions, which I have been asking and wrestling with since reading The Impossible Mentor, have been wrecking my life in the most beautiful and constructive way and they will do the same for you. I can tell you firsthand that the fruit of the questions raised in this book is a fuller appreciation and love for Jesus Christ, his kingdom, and the grace that has introduced me to both. Could there be a better endorsement for a book?
I recently shared the book's thesis in a meeting with four fellow brothers. A simple five minute articulation of the book's main questions led to an experience of God's grace and excitement in the victorious King and kingdom. Grown men were groaning with delight at the implications of and answers to the two main questions this book asks. We all walked out of that room with greater love for Jesus because we had a better appreciation for what exactly he accomplished for us - in this life. It was the final confirmation for me, as a pastor, that The Impossible Mentor is a tremendous addition to the vast library of theological literature.
I don't agree with much of the theology. I don't agree with all of Ray's assertions. But my life has now and forever been affected by the questions he has asked me and for that I am grateful and I wholeheartedly encourage you to let this book do the same for you.
I look forward to hearing you share your groans of delight in the grace of the kingdom.
Posted September 19, 2012
A wonderful mix of divine revelation, humor and great storytelling, The Impossible Mentor is a must read! The best kind of book, one that brings you easily to tears and then bursts you right back into laughter. There are simply too many gems uncovered in this book to name every one, but here are a few sparklers:
* God's grace offers more than salvation; it can nurture us in this present age.
* Jesus consumed grace too. Why? To live his life better.
* We're tempted to believe that whatever happens in life must be ordained by God.
* But rather than thinking "there's a reason for everything," go with "God gives reason to everything that happens."
* What some mean for evil, God turns into good. But he is never the author of that evil.
* Let Matthew 11:28-30 with it's call to the heavy burdened and promises of rest and peace be our outreach verse.
* Don't forget Jesus remained with his disciples for 40 days after the resurrection to inspire and mentor his love.
* What's better than heaven-when-you-die? Kingdom-come-to-earth while you live.
* North Americans are way too quick to bury the dead and call it a day.
* When our sins have hidden his face from us, it's not because he's fled, it's because we've gone into hiding.
* Finally, grace cares not for the argument, but for the people arguing.
Every word will seep into your soul and the peace of God will be upon you. New mercies, clever correlations and stunning imagery abound!