This book is difficult to review as it has moments of brilliance interspersed among paragraphs of under-edited wandering. It's clear that Mr. Berger iThis book is difficult to review as it has moments of brilliance interspersed among paragraphs of under-edited wandering. It's clear that Mr. Berger in his love of questions has no great hate for wandering, in fact he venerates it. But he doesn't seem to consider what that means for a reading. Obviously false confidence from an author (particularly with a topic such as this) would be off-putting, but a little bit of a sense that Berger has something more strategic in mind to say than, "What if we asked this? And then this? And then this? Wouldn't that be interesting?" The premise of the title implies that there are qualitatively better questions than others, but it would be difficult to gauge from the book what those questions would be or how to consistently find them except by following the Jobsian logic of "Question Everything." And yet there is something of brilliance here. Moments where the author calls us to overcome the mundane by sitting in silence, unplugging from or solution-centric noise and consider if what we are running after is worth being after at all. He hints at the brilliance of the old mystics and sages all the while framing his argument in the language of venture capitalists--a shrewd persuasive move, no question. As a researcher he borrows greatly from other sources, particularly the consulting firm IDEO, and in some ways represent their ideas better than they do in their own book on the topic Creative Confidence. This book is worth the read as it jars you a little from the myopy of the mundane in the the flightpaths of the possible. My only caution is that if you are well-versed in the now popularized "Everything Should Be More Like Silicon Valley" religion, you will not find a lot new here that derivates from the traditional Steve Jobs worship, etc....more
When I saw on Social Media that my old friend Jarrett Stevens' new book was being released I felt so strongly prompted that I should read it. CertainWhen I saw on Social Media that my old friend Jarrett Stevens' new book was being released I felt so strongly prompted that I should read it. Certain books will do that to a person every now and again… they call out to you by name and won’t let you go until the last page turns. Four Small Words was like that. And I want to share with you a few reasons why. The Bible – The Premise of Jarrett’s book is that it stands as a summary and an access point for people to understand and appreciate the complex and withering world of Scripture through four small words: OF, BETWEEN, WITH and IN. I wanted this book to be great (and it was) for one primary reason: In an age where the most propaganda churches have abandoned legitimate attention to Scripture as nothing more than convenient quotes to prooftext pop culture sensibilities, I wanted this to be a real love letter to the Bible. Even as I’ve professionally and in some ways personally taken far turns from my old pastoring days… I still love the Bible. It is rich and multifarious. Dangerous and deep. And Jarrett doesn’t disappoint on this. He, too, loves the Bible and he brings it here with such passion and clarity as to almost be jarring in its simultaneous beauty and simplicity. The Pastoring – This book flows right out of Jarrett’s pastor’s heart. Jarrett loves people. Always has and he shows it hear with a maturity and panache that clearly God has blossomed in him over these years. This is a book about ideas, yes, but it is a book for people. Jarrett’s want for you to know yourself and know God and know the Gospel through the reading of his Four Words is palpable. It had me drawn in the whole way. I felt my heart be awakened and inspired. I was reminded about God, things I have known all my life, but needed to know again. I felt myself cared for by the pages themselves. And I remembered my old friend in the reading. “Ahh, yes. This is Jarrett at his true best.” The Humanity – Four Small Words, like almost every teaching I’ve ever seen Jarrett do, is a deeply human project. It’s funny and winsome and accessible and humble. It reminds us of the mundaneness of life and how perhaps there God is most palpable of all. It tells the epic story of God on the canvas of Rock ‘n’ Roll lyrics, skateboard scrapes, and Monopoly games. Not just settling to tell us, it shows us that our story is God’s story and vice versa. And in considering the intimacy of our life in God’s life, I found myself caught up, refreshed and reverberating with all that is possible in a life lived with God. In so many ways, this is Jarrett’s magnum opus. It is 148 pages of intense story telling all written in such an accessible and attractive hand that I can’t imagine it coming from any other human. You needn’t know Jarrett to love this book, but if you do know him at all (as I only do a little now) you can feel all of him through it. The quasi-nerdy pop culture references, the quick wit, the deeply warm heart toward his stories’ subjects, his love for Jeanne. It’s all there. Jarrett, I don’t know if you’ll ever read this review, but if you do: Thank you. Certainly for Four Words, as it is a book that should be read by the thousands. But more importantly, thank you for your heart. You tell in the book about the great tragedy that we are only 10% ourselves, and I agree. But as over a decade has past, you are more you, more full of life, and grace and freedom and humility and joy, more deeply Jarrett than I last saw you. And what more could be asked of any of us, in the years that we have, than that?...more
While I realize this is a classic of western theology, the book is too dripping in self-hatred and moments of misogyny for me. I was so hoping for somWhile I realize this is a classic of western theology, the book is too dripping in self-hatred and moments of misogyny for me. I was so hoping for something really rich in the visualization of an interior world inhabited by God, but Teresa is too much of her time and of the culture of medieval Christendom, where shame and self-denial is the central human response to God's holiness. I believe there is more and I think other mystics from all ages would agree.
There is something certainly beautiful here, but there is something truly broken as well....more