Review of Max Lucado’s God’s Story (Well, More Like a Review of the Experience than the Book)

So I was asked to review the new Max Lucado book, God’s Story, Your Story. I haven’t read a Lucado book since 1997. In those days Max Lucado quotes were overplayed from the pulpits like the way Adele is streamed on the radio. They’re both good, millions says so – but when something/someone gets so overplayed, it loses its worth.

I don’t really know what the author/artist is supposed to do about that. Add to the mix, around the same time, I was reading Dallas Willard and CS Lewis; I simply haven’t had any interest in Lucado. Still, you can’t avoid him. His face is always on the cover of something from a CBD catalog to even Bible Study Magazine (within the same year, they went from NT Wright to Max Lucado. Who knows, I might be next? By the way, it’s a great magazine – only $15).

Now here’s the thing, I have no doubt that Lucado is an amazing pastor and a serous student of Scripture so know that I have no interest in judging that. But if we are being honest, we know that his writing is extremely inspiration-based and very 101 Biblically. In my humble opinion, I think it’s time for him to write a book that has some theological teeth to it and I thought this was going to be it so when I was asked to review it, I admit I had some expectations.

God’s Story is another book in the Scripture as narrative trend going through the Church. Everyone is talking about narrative and story – perhaps the best of this theme is Don Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Places – What I Learned While Editing My Life.

In all honesty, I love the idea of story and how our story fits into God’s greater story and into each other’s story – absolutely love it. I also love that mainstream Christianity is contextualizing the Biblical narrative and trying to avoid being too individualistic and seeking to be more community oriented. This is among the aspects that drew me to the emerging church conversation 8 years ago. For about a decade now, they have been talking about narrative (and meta-narrative). The emergents are like the Winklevos’ but not nearly as good-looking. Mark my words, one day Max and friends are going to pop a book out called The Brand New Christians! or Preaching Redefined but I digress.

So enter in Max Lucado, Randy Frazee and the many featured in CBD. First, welcome to the conversation! I fear that sounds condescending, but I mean it more in the sense that it’s the first time we’ve been in the same room for a while. I also appreciate how we’re reframing how we are talking about the Gospel. I plan on blogging on this another time but since I had your attention, thought I’d mention it.

But about Max’s God’s Story – here is my quick summary.  As with all requests from the publisher, one is never required to give a positive one, only an honest one.

Who It’s For
My friends who hate to read.
My friends who find themselves mentally drained at the end of the day and don’t want anything heavy but want to read something uplifting.
My friends who are new to the story of Christianity. Truth be told, I could see myself buying this for two people in particular.

What I Liked
It’s very readable. I mean very readable.
Max is pretty like-able too. He appeals to my “everyday” man very well.
The excellent illustrations he is known for. He’s like the Ichuro Suzuki of illustrations, his batting average is consistently solid.

What I Didn’t Care For
My review has already been slanted so I’m going to mention one – I wasn’t really crazy about the “If I was the devil chapter”. Some good thoughts there about the tyranny of the urgent and so forth but we have The Screwtape Letters and so this just reminded me how unoriginal this chapter was. Even worse, were the jabs at the devil” with lines like “But I’m not the devil so good for you and take that Satan”. Doesn’t Jude say not to mock the devil?

If you are keeping up with this blog, my new church is going through a 40 week “journey” through the narrative of the Bible. And honestly, I’m pretty excited about it. As alluded to, I feel like I’ve been talking about the Bible in this way for quite a while, and if I may, every so often it feels good to have the rest of the church talking about what me and my friends have been talking about. Or maybe I can put it this way, every once in a while, it feels good to here the Arcade Fire on mainstream radio and every now and then it’s good to have the one and only Max Lucado play a hand at the table with me and my friends. I can already feel the illustrations forming from within my soul.

Feel free to comment on Max’s new book, on his others or on my thoughts – you are always welcomed.

Comments

  1. I haven’t read this one, but I agree with you that Lucado tends to be overquoted and not have sharp theological teeth. I do, however, think he’s an amazing storyteller, so I tend to like his books more than I expect to. I also think his books reach the audience they’re intended to, even if you & I aren’t part of it.

  2. Thanks for the comment – I think you’re right on regarding the intended audience line. Thanks for reading Shannon – hope all is well.

  3. I would like to know if you have any comments on, “The Story”. Our church is embracing this and using it as a year long, church wide study. You mentioned the Emergent church. Ia this all a part of that movement as well?

  4. Hey Robin, I’m sorry I don’t. I do have a copy and have read a bit of it but haven’t thought of reviewing it here.
    No there is no connection that I am aware of between the emergent church and Max Lucado. Honestly, I don’t see how there possibly could be one. What I was saying is the use of narratives and meta-narratives and so on was an idea I first saw in the emerging church people and I think it’s interesting that almost 10 years later, more mainstream writers are using it.
    Thanks for reading Robin, hope to see you around.

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