I finished reading “The Christian Atheist” by Craig Groeschel today and I got to say although it was a good book…it wasn’t as great as I wanted it to be. I remember being really excited about it when I first picked out the book. With chapter titles like “When you believe in God but aren’t sure He loves you” and “When you believe in God but not in prayer”, I was expecting more of a “here’s the truth and how to apply it to your life” kind of approach to some really tough subjects. Instead what I found was more of a “here are some really relatable stories to remind you of truths you most likely already know” kind of tale. In fact when reading through many of the chapters I would finally feel like we were getting to that climatic moment of truth…only to have the chapter come to an end with no more than two paragraphs of practical advice and “because I say so” kind of answers (now anyone who knows me, knows I don’t like to do things just cause someone “says so”…I like to know the cold hard facts as to why….which might be why I struggled to enjoy this book completely).
Now don’t get me wrong, there were some great things in this book. In fact one of my favorite stories of illustration came from when he talked about a church that started praying that the local strip club would be shut down and then it was. The owner of the club sued the church for closing his club with their prayers, while the pastor proclaimed they didn’t really think the club would close because of their prayers and therefore they weren’t responsible. The judge summed up the situation perfectly by pointing out the fact that here was a strip club owner who believed in the power of prayer more than the pastor of the local church! Stories like that speak to me…and make me question my own thought processes on things like prayer and true faith….and this book was full of them.
Another thing I enjoyed about the book was the “openness” with which the author shared tales from his own life (I only use quotes because I was highly annoyed by the fact that in his closing remarks he alludes to this great big thing he finally gave over to God after two years of struggle with it and how now he’s so different because of doing so, but yet he never shares what the “it” was. To me if you are going to say something like that either put it all out there or leave it out…otherwise it makes the story less genuine).
Ultimately though, I just couldn’t get past the fact that there wasn’t anything said in this book that really went to the core of any subject. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe I was looking to a book for answers that only God can provide. Maybe I just missed what he was truly saying. And maybe all of that is why what I thought would be a “great” read turned out to just be a “good” book.