Real – A Book Review

Real - Jamie SnyderIf someone were to meet you outside of Sunday morning, would they know that you were a follower of Christ?  Is your faith so tied up in what takes place in a church building on Sunday morning that once you move out from there, you’re indistinguishable from everyone else?  Are we living out our faith throughout the week or only on Sundays?

Jamie Snyder dives into this question of a 24/7 faith in his book “Real.”  He says that, “too many of us have settled for something so much less than Jesus intended.”  We like to enjoy our Sunday morning worship experiences but we can often fail to let them have a greater impact on us and our lives.  Are we about being transformed or are we just coming to be performed to?

Sunday mornings can easily be about our best.  We dress our best, we give our best, we act our best, but what happens when we leave church?  Do we still work towards exemplifying our best or does the mask come off?  Snyder believes that many generations of Christians have been largely defined by Sunday mornings and not anything else, least of all Jesus, who we claim to be following and emulating.

Herein lies the problem, Snyder says that if, “our entire faith revolves around a one- or two-hour worship experience on one day of the week, and every detail of it doesn’t match up exactly with your needs and wants, it is all too easy to become critical.”  In other words, when our faith is based solely on our own preferences and those preferences are all to be met in a brief experience on Sunday mornings, we are setting ourselves up for failure.  That’s an awful lot of pressure to put on yourself, and more importantly, those who are actually taking part in leading this experience.

Jesus didn’t relegate his testimony and testifying of who he was to the temple or the Sabbath, he took it with him everywhere that he went.  In fact, the call to follow him is a call to die and to sacrifice, not to sit back and let other people’s faith become ours.  Jesus didn’t preach warm and fuzzy messages either, if we really follow what he tells us, we might find ourselves feeling much more uncomfortable than we have been.  Being a follower of Christ is risky and dangerous, it’s not comfortable and safe.

Snyder does a good job asking questions and challenging the reader to question themselves.  His ending solidifies the point that all of us need to look at our lives through both windows and in mirrors.  By looking through windows, we see others around us, we embrace the journey that we are on and realize that we are not alone.  By looking in the mirror, we maintain a healthy balance of self-reflection and analysis that helps us to realize that the transformation that has begun in our lives has not been complete.  Sanctification is a process.

At times, Snyder seems like he is getting repetitive, hitting on key points throughout the book.  That’s not necessarily a criticism, I do the same thing in sermons.  “Real” is a good book that challenges the reader, if he/she is willing to be challenged.  If you want to ask yourself the hard questions of your faith and the impact that it’s having on you and others, then “Real” is the book for you.  All others can just stick to Joel Osteen and find their best lives now…

(This review is based upon a copy of this book which was provided free of charge from Bethany House Publishers.  These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.)

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