Stugglin’ Through Crazy Love

I usually really enjoy Francis Chan. I think the church community of which he is the pastor – Cornerstone – is doing some incredible things as he challenges the congregation to truly live out their faith. However, I tried to read his book Crazy Love and I am struggling through it.

I am not sure what is is that is holding me back from enjoying this book. Chan’s words stand in line with my understandings of how we are to live out our faith. The central purpose of Chan’s book seems to be similar to the writings of John Perkins, Tony Campolo, Noel Castellanos, Soong Chan Rah, Ron Sider,  Robert Lupton and other Christians I respect . In fact, I am surprised I haven’t heard more backlash against this book as the “social gospel” or “works-based salvation” – perhaps it is because of Chan’s focus on the spirit and movement of the heart.

But something is amiss for me.

Has anyone else had this experience with Crazy Love?

Is it the writing style?

What could it be?

Can someone who liked the book help me understand the draw to it?

    • jamiedflm
    • June 11th, 2009

    I’ve heard the same about the book. I haven’t read it yet, it is in my pile of books that I need to read this summer. I’ve been told though that it isn’t anything new. And that is does have a lot of focus on works–rather than just the Grace of God.

    • CJ
    • June 11th, 2009

    I think it’s the fact that Chan talks so much about Love– yet doesn’t define it to meet the proverbial mustard. The entire book is basically a reiteration of the fact that God loves us powerfully, but he never really digs any deeper– never really examines the love. I like Chan’s preaching, but he does this a lot at his church as well. He will continually harp on one issue, but never really exhaustively cover it. This is, at least, in my opinion– Chan was the first preacher I ever listened to through podcast. Great guy.


    • JK
    • June 11th, 2009

    Don’t know how far you are, but it picks up some momentum toward the middle of the book.

  1. I just started reading this book this week. I’ve known about it for a while and wanted to read it and at the same time have really avoided reading it! I joined a small group that is going through it, so now I’ll have to. I’m only partway into the first chapter so I don’t know that I can say if I’ve felt drawn to it or not…

  2. Jamie, I think that was/is what was holding me back. For me, he is reiterating things I have heard, believe, and attempt to live out already. I also have been familiar with Chan for the past couple of years – and like him a lot – so while this was “new” for some folks wasn’t really new for me.

    CJ, that is my feeling too. I think I expected Chan to really examine what love is, not just from proof text – random text – but trough the narratives and stories of the Bible that show both God’s love and God’s people expressing love. Chan takes the perspective of our lives and then shows text to show how that is off from what God desires. I was expecting somewhat the inverse; more of a inductive exegetical approach.

    JK, you were right, I read several of the middle chapters today and I enjoyed them much more than the opening few.

    Ellie, The book is worth reading by far. I actually think that the book, combined with the videos on the CrazyLove website would be great for a small group/small community to go through. From the conversations I have had online and with, in person, friends today, I think this book is best utilized in community because that actualizes this “CrazyLove “and provides the accountability and support to make it possible. I don’t know if I feel drawn to the book, but as I begin to move deeper into the book it I am enjoying it more.

    • cwillz
    • June 14th, 2009

    I recently read the book, and found it difficult in parts because of two things.
    1) most of the things he writes about are things that I would want to write and he simply put it easier than me.
    2) He challenges the identity that we have been handed in Christianity that dwells in North America. Safety and security are things that have been given to us. Even though I daily try and renounce these to try and live out the Kingdom, I sense that comfort and security are the latent MO of most of our lives, and most seem to not even be aware of it.
    Chan’s description of God on the throne is startling. God is Holy, yet we walk in the tension of being able to approach that throne with confidence(Heb 4) and the fact that we and were still sinners when Christ died to give us that ability.

    If you don’t struggle to grasp the tension between a holy God and the sheer risk and desire he has for our love, something is wrong. For me, the book challenged me to see God as holy and that I should fear him. It also challenged me to see how great God’s love is. God asks us to receive our salvation with fear and trembling, and this book should be taken as a spur to keep us awake on the Way rather than a nail in our shoes that keeps us from walking.

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