I finally read it.
Ever since hearing Pastor Francis Chan speak at a national youth conference back in 2000, I've been a fan of the humble, humorous, and pragmatic way he teaches about God and our lives as believers. I'd heard that his 2008 book, Crazy Love, was well worth the read, and at this point in my spiritual journey, his words really challenged me. Two weeks later and I can’t bring myself to begin a new book because I’m still processing, re-reading underlined parts, and meditating on some of Jesus’s recorded words in the book of Matthew pertaining to things Francis has written.
The older members in my writing group chuckle when I say this, but turning 35 suddenly made life feel….very short. It doesn’t seem to stretch on forever anymore. For you psychology junkies out there, I am an Enneagram 7 and have Input as a Strength, which means I am CONSTANTLY swimming upstream in a river of distraction. But I’ve felt increasing pressure - for lack of a better word - from God to really focus. On Him, on others, and to trust Him - really trust Him - with my self care. To give Him back everything He entrusted me with while I’m still here. The works part of faith. Because...
The reality is that, whether we acknowledge our wealth or not, being rich is a serious disadvantage spiritually. As William Wilberforce once said, “Prosperity hardens the heart.” - Crazy Love
I grew up in middle class America. Safety, wealth, comfort, and pride create the illusion that I have never been spiritually needy. That I am a better human being, despite Romans 3:23; telling me that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That because I am not committing specific outward sins at any given time, I can rest back on my spiritual haunches, assured that God is receiving my best and has been appeased.
The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time. He treasures us and anticipates our departure from this earth to be with Him - and we wonder, indifferently, how much we have to do for Him to get by. - Crazy Love
“To just read the Bible, attend church, and avoid “big” sins - is this passionate, wholehearted love for God?” -Francois Fenelon
I know just listing a bunch of quotes makes for a terrible book review, but I’m still wrapping my mind around it. This isn’t a heady book. Francis’s style is very easy to read. But he does ask you to stop and really look at things - reality, and your own life in relation to it. The book begins with God's bigness, what we can see just from nature itself. Then our own mortality. Then right when you may be feeling a bit panicky, he looks at God's crazy, all-encompassing, beyond human reasoning LOVE toward us. The rest of the book examines our response. Being lukewarm toward vs obsessed with Christ. Examples of people he's met in the latter category. And examining the connection between loving and giving out of sheer delight vs. a sense of duty. And I can honestly say that this book has accomplished its purpose, at least in me:
I hope reading this book will convince you of something: that by surrendering yourself totally to God’s purposes, He will bring you the most pleasure in this life and the next.