Discipleship is costly. Are we willing to critique and even challenge much we've been taught for the sake of the kingdom? For this is the radical nature of the discipleship to which Jesus calls us. He did not allow the outside culture to hold him captive; instead he established the kingdom of God and turned the world on its head.
Jesus was untamed, and he calls his church to be the same. In this provocative and compelling book, internationally known missiologists Alan and Debra Hirsch overthrow culturized understandings of theology and culture, and cast a vision for a distinctly mission-shaped way of living the Christian life. Written for any Christian serious about issue of discipleship, Untamed covers such topics as church, humans as bearers of the image of God, family life, culture, and sexuality.
Through it all they seek to answer the question, how are we to think and live day to day as followers of Jesus? Each chapter ends with suggested practices to help readers begin to live out the book's principles as well as questions for group discussion.
- Shocking, and not in a good way
Some of the things I liked about “Untamed” was the Discussion Starters at the end of each chapter. I admire the authors reaching out to those that, unfortunately, many Christians shy away from: gay, transgendered, those immersed in sexual sins. They have been in that situation and they use their testimonies to offer hope for those involved in those sins.
Despite the positive, there were so many things with which I disagreed. First of all, the book starts off (minus the introduction) with an irreverent reference from “The Simpsons.” Throughout the book there were many pop culture references. Not that pop cultures references are bad, but if one is giving theological examples, why not stick with the true events of the Bible? Aren't the stories from the Bible good enough?
Second, I thought some of the language was inappropriate for a Christian book. There was some sexual innuendo and profanity. “B-tch” was used several times via a quote by Ted Bundy and when talking about an outreach to prostitutes called “Stitch and B-tch”.
Third, I totally disagree with a lot of their theology and methodology. They talked about having “open communion” where they shared the Lord's Supper with a gay Jewish man. I don't recall them mentioning he became a Christian, but the Bible is very clear that the Lord's Supper is only for the saved. They also have this “find the good in people” outlook. Romans 3:10 and 3:23 both state that no one is good.
The narration was fine. It would've been better if a different person narrated for Debra Hirsch, because it was a bit confusing at times.
I can go on about the stuff I didn't like in the book. Overall, it was the “shock value” in the book. There are tons of shocking things in the Bible. Try reading the book of Judges. Using inappropriate language and pop culture to try to be “relevant” isn't the right way to lead others to Christ.
This audiobook was received free of charge from christianaudio, and this review was written as part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program.
- The title well describes this book....
The title well describes this book. It presents a form of discipleship which is intentionally missional, and decidedly not ‘tame’.
I can’t make my mind up about this book. On the whole it is thoroughly biblical, and gives a healthy challenge to the western church, but there are some questionable parts.
At one point, for example, the authors say that there shouldn’t be any representation of God (including e.g. paintings of Jesus). I don’t agree with that. They also recommend a version of the Bible I’m not a fan of, The Voice. At one point they even suggest you should interpret the Bible in a different way to get yourself thinking, by losing the deity of the Holy Spirit (although not in so many words!). There are others as well.
The overall message is good, however, but I’m not sure who I’d recommend it to. Because of the odd parts I wouldn’t want to recommend this to a brand new or undiscerning Christian but at the same time I’m not sure a more mature Christian would be genuinely challenged by it.
The audio version of this book is presented nicely, but there are some weaknesses. The foreword, by Rick Warren, is read by the same narrator – I’d have preferred another – and the same is true of parts of the book written only from the point of Debra, which confused me sometimes. There are conversation starters for small groups at the end of each chapter which don’t work very well in an audio version.
But I want to finish by saying that the themes in this book are good, and important. If you’re a Christian and won’t read another book, read this one with discernment.
I got this book for free from christianaudio.com. I’m not required to give a positive review.
- his audiobook is narrated by Adam...
his audiobook is narrated by Adam Verner - a first for me. He sounds plain, not overly monotone but still slightly, and slightly computerized. Although I do listen to these audibooks on my Cliq XT, it still performs accurately and well when compared to the website's audio, even with my headset bluetooth. Adam moves appropriately through the text, but still reminds me of an advanced Text to Speech output provided by TomTom or another form of electronical device. After listening briefly, it is my conclusion that this book is better read than listened to. It's not a background reading - you need to focus on the audio to hear the words. Unfortunate, but good for those who prefer to listen during a reading time.
Grab the rest and the score at: http://infinitlove.com/blog/?p=2362
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- Untamed, by Alan and Debra Hirsch,...
Untamed, by Alan and Debra Hirsch, had some positive moments, but nothing that redeems their worldly spin on discipleship. Instead, Untamed offers a new, seemingly mystical label (Shema Spirituality) for the same old worn-out message. This worn-out message basically follows the “if it works for me, it must be of God and good for His church” approach, spending a good deal of time praising the Hirsch’s “ministry” experiences (such as rolling joints in order to witness to an addict or starting a “stitch ‘n b*tch” club to make sexy scarves for prostitutes working in the cold), as well as bashing the Lord’s bride (women are repressed, ministers create and foster the clergy/laity distinction to keep people from serving). They are so critical, no wonder they bash the church for being judgmental—they’re part of the problem!
Their section on theology didn’t set me off, but throughout the rest of the book some bad ideas and practices came out. They don’t hide their disdain for Calvinism because, in their view, sinning doesn’t make us bad people. They don’t address some key Pauline passages, but they agree women should be allowed to serve as pastors. Worst though, they are proud of their open communion, recounting how a non-believer shared communion as though the fact that he was gay and Jewish was even better because he was connecting with Jesus.
They also seemed to be bent on offending Christians and being as inoffensive to non-believers as possible, thinking that the use of foul language and using both “God” and “orgasm” in the same sentence makes them more mature (the way they did the latter made them a big hit with non-Christians at a wedding, but bothered the believers there).
I was really excited when I saw the book and the subject matter, and I had no intention of giving a bad review when I began, but I can’t recommend the book. I disciple people one-on-one and in small groups, and I don’t have to become like the world to do that.
- This is such a refreshing take...
This is such a refreshing take on discipleship. The authors have taken very tricky subjects and dealt with them brilliantly. Its not airy fairy ideas, but issues they have been through themselves. That’s what I like about this book, they are talking from personal experiences and not just a load of head knowledge.
I found the theology in the first part a bit boring, but I understand it was necessary to lay a good foundation for the rest of the book. What I did like was the personal anecdotes along with the biblical excerpts of Jesus interacting with the non-religious people. I also liked the discussion topics and activities to take the issues further in your personal life.
Adam Verner does an excellent job of narrating, making it very easy to listen to.
If taken to heart, I think this book could spark something really exciting in Christians worldwide. I am sure there are a lot of us who have forgotten that we once wanted to be ‘Untamed’ and this book will really help to get us back on the right track.
Thanks to christianaudio.com’s reviewers program for this copy.