I’m going to start doing more book reviews on this here blog. My first one is Holy Fools from NYC pastor Matthew Woodley.
Like many recent Christian releases, this book is memoir-ish; a trend I (generally, cautiously) welcome. After all, if you’re writing prescriptive ‘how to’ spiritual nonfiction, I want to see how it’s worked in your life and that of others. If it’s well-crafted, this is a bonus. Holy Fools does not disappoint.
Most friends and followers of Jesus yearn to live from God’s tantalizing grace. We want our lives to experience the blazing newness of being “in Christ.” Sadly, however, we often find our heart-senses dulled with a bland approach to spirituality and Christian community. From time to time, we all need a pneumatic wake up call.
This tome is written to provoke such an awakening; countering complacency and enlivening us to the path of the trickster, the holy fool – it looks at a consortium of wide-eyed, counter-cultural, God-passionate, and Spirit-drunk ne’er-do-wells pursuing a new lens for a new reality.
As Woodley puts it:
Nearly ten years ago, although my life was marked by all the trappings of “Christian” success and respectability, my faith had become bland, safe, and completely flat. God orchestrated the needed jolt and awakening to my spiritual life through some unlikely mentors: a band of ragged, adventurous, and “foolish” people—the Holy Fools.
As I encountered more and more ancient and contemporary holy fools, I realized that I had stumbled onto a wild and wide stream of Christian spirituality. This stream of “holy folly” offered me a taste of God’s unsettling and enticing grace. As I’ve walked with these holy fools over the past ten years, God has given me a new passion to love and serve Him.
“Holy folly” is Woodley’s ancient-fresh approach to spiritual life in Christ that he describes as combining “humor, irony, spiritual discipline, surprise, radical compassion, and passionate faith.” Holy fools challenge us with an unconventional and unsettling approach to journey and play in Holy Spirit. It’s about the unlikely heroes God uses to reawaken the church to follow Jesus and bring his love to the margins of society.Woodley shows us tangible things we can do to become more “foolish”, including contemplative prayer, plotting secret goodness and practicing everyday asceticism so we can discover what a people sold out for Jesus can really do.
The book is published by Salt River, Tyndale House’s more leading-edge imprint. The author is one of maybe three people in New York without a blog or personal website but his official bio is online here.
Holy Fools has been garnering quite the blogospheric acclaim. Check out a sampling:
On Journeying with those in Exile Part I and Part II
Man of Depravity Part I and Part II
Brilliant book! (http://plansforhope.wordpress.com/2008/07/25/holy-fools/)
Thanks for the link Mike. A great book to start with on doing more reviews.