Friday, September 10, 2010

Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado

NYT best selling author, Max Lucado's newest inspirational book, Out Live Your Life, has the power to reach even the most hardened and downtrodden of lives.  As with his other works, in true Lucado-fashion, he elevates the most common, the most ordinary, and the most hopeless of situations and people into extraordinary and noble possibilities.  In other words, he illustrates the power within each and everyone of us, to have an impact in our world and for the betterment of others to the glory of God.  This book appeals to the human need for purpose and delivers answers.

Lucado brings to life, examples from the bible to powerfully illustrate the words of Jesus and the writers of the new testament- that God uses weakness and the common, to the glory of God. He does not use too many personal anecdotes whoc so many self help writers tend to do.  The text of the book comes to life as it is vividly illustrated with indepth personality studies of the apostles and other characters from the bible in order to show that God can you any one of us for greatness and glory to change lives and the world for the better. The human and imperfect side of the apostles as well as within oursleves is elevated and is used to illustrate how we too can be used as toold for God's glory.

One issue I wish to explore in this review is Lucado's choice of examples for modern heroes of faith.  In his book two examples are depicted: one is a fictional character named Father Benjamin and the other is a real life, historical hero of faith, Father Damien, a man who sacrificed his life for countless people inflicted with leprosy on the island of Molaki.  It is important to keep in mind that  Father Damien was a  Roman Catholic priest and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a  religious order that is based on the private vision of Henriette Aymer de Chevalerie in the late 1700s. The mission of the Sacred Hearts  is to spread the message of God's  love as manifested through the Hearts of Jesus and Mary and help others in finding God's mercy through the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Is this mission theologically inline with the gospel message?  We can not ignore this.  There is no doubt that Father Damien exhibited extraordinary herosim and sacrifice for others. But he was part of an religious organization whose missionary work was also to promote the adoration of the "Blessed Sacrament" as well as Mary, otherwise known by the Catholic church as "The Blessed Mother/ Queen of Heaven".   It is true, that there are many faithful Catholics, whose names are written in heaven's Book of Life, who have salvation based  on their faith in the sacrifice of Jesus, whose meritorius works are the fruits of the Holy Spirit such as with the case of Father Damien. There is no doubt Father Damien, as well as other Catholic heroes, empowered and helped countless numbers of people here on earth,  but we can not neglect to consider the importance of saving souls as wel-l which after all, is the most important puspose of the the gospel message.   If we base heroes on works alone, then why not consider secular or historical heroes who sacrificed their lives for others? Perhaps this hero was chosen by Lucado as an attempt at the ecumenical movement, wherby bridging the gap between denominations by focusing on similarites rather than theological differences.  But if we are considering the message of God, then we must consider the message of any hero that we choose as an illustration, as well.

Nevertheless, I have presented this issue just as something to explore.  It in no way detracted from this book's message in any way whatsoever.  Perhaps a Catholic hero was chosen in order to include more denominations rather than alienate them. Yet we must remember that the teaching of Jesus is not always easy, and Jesus said himself there is only one path and that we can not comprimse or water down or add to the message of the gospel for the sake of pleasing others.  After all, Jesus himself often offended many of his listeners with his teachings- yet he never once comprimised.  As a member for I receieved this book for the purposes of writing a review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

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