"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."

-C.S. Lewis

What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Accidental Pharisees, by Larry Osborne

Accidental Pharisees is a pretty clever name for an important topic.  The premise of this book is a discussion of overzealous faith and how to avoid it.  By using the Pharisees and their lack of understanding about the spirit behind doctrinal laws, author Larry Osborne tries to show Christians that overzealous faith runs counter to what Christ calls us to do.  And he does this in an easy-to-read way that promotes further discussion or study if the reader so chooses.

The point that Osborne tries to make is a good one.  It's that whole "you're not the boss of me" mentality that we remember from childhood.  "Bossing" each other didn't work then, and it doesn't work now.  He identifies the major ways in which he feels Christians have this attitude:  pride, exclusivity, legalism, idolizing the past, uniformity, and gift projection onto others. 

I think that the fundamental message that we can take from this book is this - each individual Christian has his or her own legitimate calling from God.  Nothing another person can do should be able to reject or minimize that calling.  To that end, I feel that this book is successful.

There is a caveat that I attach to this review.  Osborne seems to be influenced by life experiences with exclusivity - and the book reflects that.  There is a negative attitude about several different kinds of churches, and Osborne tends to generalize.  He makes it seem as if almost any style of church other than his suffers from exclusivity.  I wish he had recognized that not every church with a given label behaves in an exclusive manner.  Sure, some do,  but many don't.  And that's not reflected in this book.  I would hate for someone to shy away from a church because of it.

I can recommend this book for solo reading or group discussion, but keep an open, prayerful mind.  I found it best to apply this book to my own individual circumstances, and ignore the comments that were made about church styles. 

Disclaimer:  I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Three out of Five Stars