Sunday, March 2, 2014

book review—Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

almost good, but not quite

I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program.

This has proven to be a surprisingly difficult book to evaluate fairly.

On the one hand, there are some parts of it that are rather good. For example, in Chapter 8, when he says this about God's love, “Because it's not a love based on what I do. It's based on what Jesus has done”, that at least I have no problems with. As well, the author isn't one of those “follow my formula, and everything in your life will be alright” types. As he relates in the book, he simply knows too many faithful people who have gone through some pretty bad situations, and that reality keeps him from going too far into the “You can have your best life now” type of thinking.

But while there are some good spots, far too much of the book is simply not so good.

Because what is the book about? It's about us and what we can do. “Brennan Manning wrote a line that perfectly describes what happens when the chatter gets the best of us: “Great deeds remain undone and the possibility of growth into greatness of soul is aborted.”” (p. 9). The premise is that the voice of this chatterbox can somehow keep us from doing these great deed or having this greatness of soul if we listen to it's negativity. It's simply the kind of book meant to boost your ego in what you can do, if of course you do what the author suggests, which will result in crashing your chatterbox.

But if anything, the concept of the chatterbox becomes cumbersome, even for the author. He simply cannot in all honesty say that this chatterbox's negative statements are always wrong or harmful. He can only try, such as in Chapter 9, to set up some ideas that show the difference between condemnation from the chatterbox and God's conviction. But these principles tend to be cumbersome, too. “First person is the default voice of condemnation.” (p. 133), but it was the Apostle Paul himself, in Romans 7, who writes “Oh wretched man that I am!”, definitely using the first person, and referring to himself in a very strong way.

Honestly, I found the idea of a chatterbox unhelpful after a while. If I may suggest something, what Paul wrote in II Corinthians 7 about the differences between godly sorrow and worldly sorrow seems more helpful, and not as cumbersome.

It is possible to read this book, and find some good stuff in it. But one has to wade through a lot of motivational-speak, personal stories, and silly pop-culture references to find those small bits of good. I'm simply not sure it's worth the effort.

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