Friday, September 10, 2010

Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado

NYT best- selling author, Max Lucado's newest book, Out Live Your Life, is a book that will reach and inspire even the most secularlized, discouraged or hardened audience.  In his usual fashion, Lucado elevates even the most common, ordinary, humble and mundane people and circumstances into the the most extraordinary, significant and noble of possibilities.  No matter what station in life that you hold, no matter how discouraged, sick or ill that you feel, this book empowers the reader with purpose and motivation.  Lucado appeals to the human need for purpose and he delivers satisfactory answers and solutions. This book is sure to appeal to the the secular reader as well as the bible believer.

Lucado brings to life, the stories and heroes of the bible and relates them to common, ordinary human circumstances.  He shows vividly in animated language, the human side of the apostles- highlighting their weaknesses and shortcomings.  Just as Paul said in his letters, in his weakness he is made strong through the power of God, and as Jesus taught that God uses the weak, sick and humble for his glory- Max Lucado, uses this theme to show how we too can be used as instruments for God's glory. Just as a biblical hero, we too can do are part to help the wolrd be a better place or to help those in need.  There are not too many personal anecdotes to interfere with the text of the book, rather, Lucado makes use of biblical stories.

One issue to explore is Lucado's choice of examples of modern day heroes.  Perhaps this is an attempt to facilitate the ecumenical movement, whereby one focuses on commonalities rather than theological differences to unify different religious/ Christian denominations.  Lucado chose two unique personalities to illustrate the power of a single individual- one is a fictitious character named Father Benjamin and the other is a real life hero of faith, Father Damien, a  Roman Catholic priest from Belgium and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.  I commend as well as question his choice of examples.  First of all, no one could doubt that Father Damien's sacrifice of his life for the lepers of Molokai was an heroic sacrifice of faith to the glory of God.  Nevertheless, as a Catholic Priest, in the order of the Sacred Hearts, a religious order based on the vision of Henriette Aymer de Chevalerie in the late 1700s, whose mission is to mission to spread the message of God's unconditional love as manifested through the Hearts of Jesus and Mary  as well as finding God's mercy through the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Although the order has been responsible for the improvement and edification of countless lives, here on earth, the issue here is that Father Damien was part of a religious order that promoted the adoration of the "Blessed Sacrament" as well as Mary- who is often referred to as the "Blessed Mother/ Queen of Heaven" in the Catholic Church.  Father Damien's works were heroic, but what about the theology and teaching he represented? Should that be considered as well? He helped countless lives, but what about their souls? I have no doubt that there are genuine Catholics written in the Book Of Life, who have recieved salvation  through faith in Jesus Christ- of which Father Damien I am sure is one of them.  But the full scope of the teaching represented by Catholic Priests must also considered as well.  Otherwise, what is the distinction between these choices and any other historical or secular Martyr.
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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