The Barbarian Way by Erwin Raphael McManus

During the summer our church has a Sunday school class that consists of various members presenting book reviews.  It is a good way to deal with vacations and yet still present good material and engender discussion.

One of the books covered was The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within by Erwin Raphael McManus. Knowing this was the case when I saw it at Half-Price Books I grabbed a copy.

It was a quick read and an interesting perspective. But despite some good insights and a lively style the book never really delivers the punch I expected.

Here is the publisher’s blurb:

Erwin McManus wasn’t raised in a Christian home, so when he came to Christ as a college student, he didn’t know the rules of the “religious club.” He didn’t do well in Shakespeare courses, so he didn’t really understand the KJV Bible he was given either. But he did understand that prayer was a conversation, and he learned to talk to God and wait for answers. Erwin’s way was passionate and rough around the edges-a sincere, barbaric journey to Christ.

Barbaric Christians see Jesus differently than civilized Christians. They see disciples differently, and they see Christ’s mission differently. The Barbarian Way is a call to escape “civilized” Christianity and become original, powerful, untamed Christians-just as Christ intended.

The problem I had was that reading that second paragraph basically covers the book. I never felt like McManus took it deeper. He made a good case that human nature always steers toward safety, complacency, and rationalization – and that this is the opposite of what it means to be a Christian.

But what he doesn’t do very well to my mind, is flush out more deeply how this plays itself day to day in your life. The attitude and perspective is there but the insight into what that means below the surface isn’t. Granted it is a 150 page book but I was still looking for a little more.

Still, Christians and churches would do well to think about whether their faith calls them to comfort and safety or whether it calls them to a life of radical commitment that eschews comfort for sacrifice and rejects safety for dependence on God.

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).

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