I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Mark Batterson‘s new book, Primal, as part of it’s book blog tour. Unfortunately, I live in Canada so I did not receive the book until the end of the official time for the blog tour, which was the beginning of Christmas craziness for me. Well, I’ve finally finished the book.
“What would your Christianity look like if it was stripped down to the simplest, rawest, purest faith possible?”
Batterson’s answer is the Great Commandment as stated by Jesus in Mark 12:30, “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” The book is broken into four sections taking a look at:
- The Heart of Christianity – Compassion
- The Soul of Christianity – Wonder
- The Mind of Christianity – Curiosity
- The Strength of Christianity – Energy
As I read the book, I found myself agreeing with Batterson on each of his major points concerning being recaptured by compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy in loving God. I found, though, that compared to Wild Goose Chase, which I thoroughly enjoyed and thought was very well written Primal was a bit of a disappointment. I found the writing to be choppy and had the feeling of being rushed. This book did not flow as well as Wild Goose Chase did from chapter to chapter and section to section.
I am also curious as to why Batterson left out the second half of the Great Commandment, which is “equally important:”
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
It seemed like Batterson tried to shoehorn that into the compassion part of loving God, but I was still left with a sense of an incomplete exploration of Primal Christianity. I found Scot McKnight‘s Jesus Creed to be a more cohesive and better written exploration of the Greatest Commandment.
Now, don’t get me wrong… I don’t think Primal was a bad book. I think that many people will gain a better understanding of what it means to love God with one’s heart, soul, mind and strength after reading Primal. I also would recommend it as one book to read in 2010. I just think that this was not some of Batterson’s best writing. Wild Goose Chase was much better.
- Did you read the book? What were your thoughts? Do you think I’m off my rocker? Let us know what you think.
- Also, do you agree that the Great Commandment is Christianity at its most primal? How do we teach kids and families with that in mind?
If you are interested in obtaining a free copy of Primal, I do have a copy to give away here on Elemental Children’s Ministry. The first person to tell me who is the author of this quote from the book will win: “A mind streched by a new idea never returns to its original shape.” Leave your answer in the comments.