Sunday, February 15, 2009

Book Review/Reflection: Uprising by Erwin Raphael McManus

While in North Carolina, I started reading Uprising, A Revolution of the Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus. I had hear Erwin speak once before, and he seemed like a very engaging, insightful, and authentic guy, thus figured a book of his would be worth reading. Due to all the chaos of temporarily leaving Seattle and living in Costa Rica, I have only been able to finish this book recently.  As discussed earlier, about committing to process my reading more, I will write a few blog posts to cover my thoughts.

I would like to first say that I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to just about anyone.  The book discusses the journey from self-centered lives to servant-leadership, and anyone pursuing a life with Christ will find themselves on this continuum.  This book is very focused on developing Christ's character and freedom, and he lays this out in a very organized way.  This was very helpful for my brain.  This book is structured around three "quests":
  1. the quest for honor: from pride to humility -> integrity -> courage
  2. the quest for nobility: from greed to gratitude -> wholeness -> generosity
  3. the quest for enlightenment: from foolishness to faithfulness -> perseverance -> wisdom 
There is a chapter for each of these character traits (e.g. humility, integrity, etc.) that build on the last one in the "quest".  This may sound a little corny, but I assure you, it didn't feel that way reading the book.  This structure and evolution of character made a lot of sense to me. 

There is a lot to think about and apply in each chapter of this book.  The challenge is not to rush ahead without having dealt with in the previous chapters.  I want to be someone of courage, but that comes through the development of humility and integrity.

I also thought this book has a Biblical balance of God working verses me working.  Life with Christ is not self-help as proliferated in our culture.  The character of Christ cannot be developed in me solely by my own doing.  But the life of Christ isn't just a case of God on the field and me on the sidelines.  I am entrusted with responsibility, and what I do does matter.  My decisions and actions affect me and other people.  I think McManus speaks accurately to life with Christ being difficult and requiring a lot of work, but as it's done with God, being possible and incredibly life-giving.

So again, I would definitely recommend reading this book.  It would definitely be a good one to read over Lent (start 2/25).  I'll have more comments about individual chapters/themes soon!

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