Friday, September 10, 2010

About You by Dick Staub

Dick Staub’s book, About You: Fully Human Fully Alive, speaks to the modern generation as a whole- regardless of whether the audience is secular, religious, or well educated in philosophical thought. His book is a meld between a self-help style book and philosophy, rolled into one unique volume. This book is a clever and unique outreach method by which the gap between secular theology, and the skeptic secular audience and Christian theology is bridged. It is a good spring board to introduce those who are not familiar with the bible to the greatness of Jesus and to empowerment. Perhaps this is an attempt at ecumenicalism whereas differences in theology and religious ideas are overlooked in the quest to find a common bond. Nevertheless, for those seeking the message of the gospel as taught by Jesus and the writers of the bible, then this is not necessarily the most appropriate book as some critical aspects of the gospel message are underemphasized or left out entirely.

In general, the biggest “sin”, for Straub (even though the biblical concept of sin is overlooked in the book), is not in denying the sacrifice of Jesus, but rather in not living up to one’s full potential. This book appeals to the secular, yet universally common quest to reach our full human potential. An underachiever is described as one who fails to reach his “fully human” potential. Being spiritually alive is not sufficient, we must also be “winsomely alive and human” as well. Straub makes the two goals of spiritual life and human life as two distinct concepts. To achieve the concept of “restoration” we must know theology- defined as God’s purpose for us- as well as integrating anthropology- in which we follow our human nature and human destiny.

According to Straub, Jesus came to make us fully human. This is not necessarily completely true, if one were to use the bible as a guideline. As far as the bible is concerned, Jesus came so that we may have eternal life. Straub focuses on peripheral ideas which makes for a good, empowering self help book to help motivate the reader to develop and pursue his/her talents and gifts- but it is not a book that presents the gospel message of Jesus.

Dick Straub is to be commended for reaching out to the secular and skeptical reader, and providing a thought provoking spring-board which may lead the reader to investigate the message of Jesus further. But if you consider the brief synopsis of the views presented on page 188, salvation consists of realizing our human potential rather than placing our faith in Jesus Christ who died in our place for our sins. Jesus is relegated to a model or avatar by which we should emulate and follow, but the issue of salvation in the biblical sense as presented in the bible is not fully addressed. Jesus is depicted in a non offensive, palatable way, that even the most skeptical, hardened of atheists will not reject. Nevertheless, Jesus was more blunt and never compromised in order to win over his listeners. In fact, even in the bible, many of his listeners were offended by his teachings. Overall, while these are important issues that I have raised- as a stand-alone, self help book, this book succeeds in empowering the reader to reach his/ her full potential. I recieved a copy of this book as a blogger for TheOOZE Viral Publishers.

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