I almost didn't write this. I wasn’t sure what else to say that wasn't in my review of Bob's first book, Love Does. But I figured if I frantically covered Everybody Always in more highlighter than the first book, I should probably review this one as well!
Bob’s second book feels like a more mature continuation on the journey of doing more than just “agreeing with Jesus.” In Love Does, Bob shares little anecdotes (ranging from cute to jaw-dropping) that changed the way he saw his faith and others. In Everybody, Always, Bob seems more sure than ever in not just studying, but actually practicing what Jesus said. And truthfully, his real life examples are helpful in showing what that can look like. The book begins with his family fully embracing and loving on one of their neighbors and ends with Bob’s work with the witch doctors in Uganda. Reading about his experience in Uganda alone is worth it. It’s an astounding example of what it looks like to “love your enemies.”
In Love Does, each chapter began with a little summation - “I used to think this, but now I know that.” In Everybody, Always, the summations are presented more like precepts. There was only one that didn’t sit well with me, and I think his personal example may have been stretched a bit far. One of the most thought provoking ones was: “We’re not held back by what we don’t have, but by what we don’t use.”
Everybody, Always fills in the rest of the painting begun in Love, Does. Both books examine the paradoxically simple and difficult life of following Jesus. Which, according to Him, means loving others. Being ok with interruptions. Thinking outside the box. Giving away instead of hoarding our time and affections. Thinking outward instead of in. But it also means whimsy. And being constantly surprised.
But most importantly of all, following Jesus means trading in our fear … for Love. For “perfect love casts out fear.”
Fear is how we know our lives are all about us. It’s a place that isn’t beyond God’s grace. Not even close. But it certainly isn’t a fruitful place. It won’t be a place from which grace spreads out to the people around us. Or where we grow. Or are delighted. Or come to know God as a loving Being rather than a list of stern do-nots.
In a culture obsessed with plans and steps and milestones, we need more people like Bob. To set an example of how to love in a less linear, more all encompassing way. I think his Chapter 3 precept sums it up best:
“ ‘Love one another.’ What is simple often isn’t easy; what is easy often doesn’t last.”