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Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,624 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Normal? Who’s Normal?Not you, that’s for sure! No one you’ve ever met, either. None of us are normal according to God’s definition, and the closer we get to each other, the plainer that becomes. Yet for all our quirks, sins, and jagged edges, we need each other. Community is more than just a word—it is one of our most fundamental requirements. So how do flawed, abnormal pe ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 4th 2003 by Zondervan (first published February 21st 2003)
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Jason Kanz
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, 2015
In the past, I have read a couple of engaging books by John Ortberg, so when I saw Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them (Zondervan, 2003) on the shelf at the thrift store, I thought I would give it a go. To not delay your suspense, I told a friend of mine that this book was gold. In fact, when I was half-way through the book, I purchased two other copies to give to people. I've already given one away.

Ortberg has an engaging writing style that shows a wide breadth of knowledge and a capac
Melissa M
Jun 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in genuine community/ relationship
Recommended to Melissa by: UCC book club
Shelves: nonfiction, faith
This is my first Ortberg read. Honestly I read through the book faster than I would have liked due to a deadline for a book club (that I found out about without much notice). I think the book would in fact be ideal for small group to go through together as the issues brought up could lead to a lot of great discussion. There are a set of questions at the end of each chapter & I'm anticipating that tonight I may come away a bit frustrated from a one hour discussion that attempts to cram in the ...more
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVE John Ortberg. I know probably the most mainstream Christian writer is Max Lucado, (and I like Max too!) but John Ortberg is the best! He has a way of writing that makes this stuff so accessible. This book is about community -- how to deal with conflict, exclusion, forgiveness, etc. in a Christian framework. I love his sense of humor and how he makes each subject so darn relevant. I wish he'd write 1,000 more books!
Oct 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian-living
This is an easy to read book, entertaining, and contains some thought provoking parts, but Mr. Ortberg's liberal license with Scripture is a tad disconcerting. Additionally, he often overwrites his point which instead of adding clarity or wisdom merely adds verbosity and murkiness. Still, this book is a quick read that highlights the importance of living together in community.
Nov 20, 2013 marked it as to-read
Read a wonderful excerpt from this book... truths ring out in every sentence.. I've never read John Ortberg, but I think I might look at his other books..

Here's a bit of what I read:

"We are tempted to live under the illusion that somewhere out there are people who are normal...When we enter relationships with the illusion that people are normal, we resist the truth that they are not. We enter an endless attempt to fix them, control them, or pretend that they are what they’re not.
..Everybody’s We
Feb 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It really made me think about my own faith and life in ways that I haven't done in a while. I enjoyed the stories that he shared and the personal way he did so. On some level I feel as though I know John Ortberg now. Of course, I have no idea if the guy who comes across in the book is the real deal, but I like the guy who I got to know in the book!

I have decided to do a sermon series based on this book. I believe there is enough g
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. I love John Ortberg. He is a gifted writer that keeps your interest. This book reminded me about the importance of community and accepting people for who they are.
Terri Milstead
Jul 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: womens-study
First, I think the title is catchy but not representative of the whole idea of this book, which is about building authentic Christian community. That said, I am excited to bring this book to a women's study soon. Almost every chapter has something I can envision a gathering time activity for, which is great. There are good discussion questions at the end of each chapter. As always, Ortberg is an engaging writer although there may be a joke or two made that could be eliminated to make the book mo ...more
Joe Oaster
May 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great book I have finished by John Ortberg. John has a way of presenting topics in a clear way. I love his honesty and his anecdotes that he sprinkles in throughout his book.

I found particularly moving was his last chapter on the first five minutes. I will leave that statement at that but those three words really got me thinking.

Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Had a number of things to take away and think upon. The book is about living in community, the overall theme was great. It wasn't one of my favourite books of his though. Wasn't as engaging as some of his other books and I've never felt unsure about his content before however there were a few things I wasn't sure about with this one.
Robert Sutherland
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I think there are two tiers of Ortberg--the really good ones and the pretty good ones. This one goes in the upper tier. This is a book about community. What does it mean to connect with others? Exploring themes including forgiveness, inclusion, and confrontation, Ortberg writes accessibly about connecting with others. Recommended for individual or group study.
John Bacin
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book will teach you why community is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and others.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Like, what are you waiting for, get it and read it!
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed reading.
Kevin Driskill
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ortberg does a masterful job describing and illustrating the concepts he teaches here. Memorable and insightful.
Jul 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the second book I've read by John Ortberg, and I look forward to reading more. He writes with wit and charm and boils down what could be a complicated message into a passage that is accessible to anyone. This book in particular seems to strike a nerve with many people, because due to our over-exposure to TV, movies, and other media, we have a preconceived notion of what "normal" is, and beat ourselves (or others) up if we (or they) don't fit that idea of "normal." We have an idea of what ...more
Scott Cox
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a very encouraging book, one that motivates us to learn how to live in Christian community with others. Ortberg encourages us to deal with others in a way that we ourselves would want to be dealt with, and he exhorts us with much warmth and humor. His basic premise is that we all wear an "as is" tag regarding our true nature, which we all seek to hide from others. My favorite chapter entitled "The Fellowship of the Mat," deals with Christ's healing of the paralytic man who had friends wh ...more
Kristen Gebbia
Jul 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
We all have those "porcupine people" in our lives; the ones who hurt us, whether they meant to or not. But--look in the mirror and you'll find that you yourself are a porcupine. Each one of us has our own idiosyncrasies and we all inadvertently hurt each other. Yet even porcupines have learned how to dance with one another without causing pain, and we can, too.

Humans were created for community, and while none of us are "normal", we can learn how to become true, authentic friends here on earth; i
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first section of the book unpacks what the author means by ‘normal’ (I prefer the word 'healthy'), and how far from this we all are; the second section is about getting closer to other people. There are chapters about empathy, authenticity and acceptance, with some self-deprecating anecdotes and general commentary written in a light but thought-provoking vein.

The final section is about building stronger relationships in general, including an excellent chapter on forgiveness. There are some
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
I first read Ortberg's work ("The Life You've Always Wanted") in my first year of university. I was impressed with his writing then, and I still am. In this book, Ortberg talks all about community. He expresses how we were meant to live life with others and the joys and challenges that can bring. His final chapters touch on the difficulties we inevitably face to relate, forgive, and tell the truth, while also challenging us to engage in the deeper themes of commitment, accountablity, and gratitu ...more
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psbc
There are many good reminders in this book about the importance of relationships and community, not only spiritual, but secular community; they are just that though, reminders, good to hear, but no real aha moments. This may be why I felt the book was pretty superficial. I got bogged down, and in fact, began to skim, even skip many of Ortberg's example stories. And then, all in all, my feelings about this book and its author most likely were negatively skewed early on when Ortberg included a par ...more
Erik Martensen
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it

I had to lower my rating of this book when I saw the accompanying video and group discussion guide. I love Jesus and John Ortberg. This book was well written and I loved reading it. I also attended many years of sermons and lectures given by him at Willowcreek. I am a bit put off by the way that Christianity is only being presented in the same. Manner as buisness management training and sales presentations. This book lost a star only because it's marketing contradicted the message in the book.
Aaron Smith
May 15, 2011 rated it liked it
A good book to remind us that we all have our flaws, we all try to hide them from each other, and it wasn't intended for us to live "normally." This book provided a humorous look at how we interact with one another individually and collectively, and the benefits and sometimes harms we cause. Definitely a good book for a group to go through and answer the questions at the end of the chapters. Gets great discussion going about instances we may not even be aware of where we are judging others witho ...more
Nov 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Ortberg starts with the premise that God made people for community, but the fallen nature of humanity makes connecting with others difficult. Ortberg focuses on the need for solid relationships and the character values required for creating and maintaining strong bonds.

I like this book because it challenges the notion that we should just avoid anyone who drains us or makes us uncomfortable. Ortberg urges his readers to step out of isolation and grow in their ability to relate to one another.
Jun 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
While this book is said to be good by many other people, what I don't like about it is that it DOESN"T quote or reference where he gets his bible verses from. I would stay away from books/writers like these just for that reason...that although it sounds good or accurate, but things can be taken out of context. John Ortberg should include where he gets his bible verses from not just piecing things together to make it sound good from the exterior. I would NOT recommend.
Brian Eshleman
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book packs an entirely unexpected wallop. The title and tone are folksy, but the author holds the highest view of the sovereignty of God and the authority of Scripture. He shows a rare ability to exposit Scripture and clarify its meaning with both relevant pop culture references and timeless deep thinkers like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Dallas Willard. He is humble, yet he gives the reader the benefit of what he has learned about relationships from a Biblical perspective.
May 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Willow Creek's Pastor John Ortberg gives us a plain and simple class all along this merry book. Delivering advises on "how to build "normal" relationships" he leads us into a journey of creating prevailing friendships and relations. Although i don't consider it a masterpiece, i do appreciate his writing style and his objective view on human interaction. The seven steps towards resolving conflicts chapter is very pleasant and enlightening.
Feb 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: christian-books
The first two or three chapters were promising -- it seemed this book would give practical ideas on how to build stronger relationships. But the later chapters seemed less useful; they contained too much pop psychology (reading body language, for example), clichéd sermon illustrations, and marginally relevant attempts at humor.
Feb 13, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a good book to examine one's own life and look how closely it resembles the way Christ dealt with relationships. He quotes all my favorite authors - Cloud, Nouwen, M. Scott Peck, Putnam, Bonhoeffer, Volf and even one I didn't care for - Anne Dillard. Guess I will give her books another try. Well-rounded treatment of an important subject.
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“Bitterness is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.” 57 likes
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