Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Book Review: "The Sacred Romance" by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge, Thomas Nelson. 1997

Overview—Give a brief overview of the book, including its theme, perspective and approach. The Sacred Romance could be categorized as a “wistful-heart devotional”. In their romantic way, the authors seek to awaken the reader’s heart to its true desire for something more. Using various metaphors, Curtis and Eldredge walk through several “acts’ of the drama of life and a true walk with God, alerting us to the “arrows” that have wounded us and the Adversary who opposes us along the way. More of a passionate devotional then a commentary or theological treatise, the authors use quotes, anecdotes and stories to restore passionless Christians to relational renewal with God.

Critique—Offer a brief critique of the book, including elements of strength and weakness.
In all honesty, I had a hard time connecting with The Sacred Romance. I appreciated what the authors were attempting to accomplish, to tap into the sense of “homelessness” of the human soul and turn it Godward. And I laud their emphasis on the heart as the key to the Christian life. I also appreciated the authors they quoted like Chesterton, Lewis, McGrath, Edwards, and Kreeft. But I found myself saying, “Yes, but _______said it better.” Rather than reading The Sacred Romance, I would direct the reader to the original sources. The same ground has been better covered by Chesterton (Orthodoxy), Kreeft (The Journey), McGrath (The Unknown God), or Guinness (Long Journey Home). I also found the overly romanticized prose to be flowery and vague (“We understand we must allow our desire to haunt us like Indian summer, where the last lavish banquet of golds and yellows and reds stirs our deepest joy and sadness, even as they promise us they will return in the fragrance of spring” ?!) The authors speak of “love and heroic service” but give no examples of how that is fleshed out. What is missing is the sense of Christian mission that Piper (Desiring God) and others have put forward.

Application—Offer some specific application to your own ministry— demonstrating the value and relevance of the material in this book.
I’m afraid I won’t be turning to The Sacred Romance very often. Again, I appreciate the attempt, but The Sacred Romance failed to captivate me. I should say, however, that an author as popular as Eldredge has certainly pushed a button in contemporary Christendom that is worth investigating.

Best Quote—Be sure to include the page number where the quote can be found.
p.1 “Some years into our spiritual journey, after the waves of anticipation that mark the beginning of any pilgrimage have begun to ebb into life’s middle years of service and business, a voice speaks to us in the midst of all we are doing. There is something missing in all of this, it suggests, There is something more.”

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