Monday, July 8, 2013

"God's Favorite Place on Earth" by Frank Viola: Commentary and Review

Allow me to apologize in advance. This short book review is more about me than the book itself. I have often wondered, as a non-Christian (or maybe an ex-Christian... or maybe I never really was a Christian... Good God! maybe the Calvinists were right!), why do I write book reviews of Christian books? And why do book authors and Christian book publishers want my opinions, and why are people (or Christians) interested in my non-Christian thoughts?

Well, ultimately, I think I know why. I may be a non-Christian but I have not totally abandoned everything Christianity has of value. I would rather not define myself as a non-Christian or an ex-Christian, but as simply having moved beyond Christianity (and that necessitates keeping or absorbing at least some aspects and values of it). And that gives me a somewhat clearer vision of what I see, hear, and read.

Christian books in the past that have received bad or poor reviews from me generally have certain unfavourable elements. They use bait-and-switch trickery and mislead; they are too preachy and condemning or judgmental; sometimes they simply can't connect to the common man.

This book however - "God's Favorite Place on Earth" - is none of these things. The author starts out by comparing the tiny town of Bethany to the colossus Jerusalem. I believe the messages and lessons Frank Viola is attempting to communicate are good, simple Christian ones (mind you, for the internal Church-going Christian; not those on the fringe)... but he never seems to get any traction. He failed to ever grab my attention or interest. Although not a long book, I read through it like it was a task, an obligation. (It was as joyous as reading through the book of Leviticus).

I wish I could say or comment more, but unfortunately I have little more to add. It simply wasn't an engaging book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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