Monday, November 21, 2011

Going Deep by Gordon MacDonald [Review]

Title: Going Deep
Author: Gordon MacDonald
Labels: Christian Living | Spiritual Growth
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: October 18, 2011
Contains: Zippo. Clean as a whistle.
Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher

My Rating: 
Blurb: What is a deep person?If you'd like to become one, would you know how? Would you like to help others become deep? If so, you have come to the right place. In this fascinating book, best-selling author Gordon MacDonald discovers that his small New England church could be headed for trouble. Why? Because of the serious shortage. There are plenty of good people, well-meaning people, sincere people -- but not enough deep people.
          In his celebrated and engaging style, Gordon transports you back to the fictional setting from his critically acclaimed book, WHO STOLE MY CHURCH? He identifies the crucial missing component in his community: people of true depth, people of real influence. And he offers unforgettable insights on how to cultivate spiritual maturity and exhibit life-altering faith. As it turns out in Gordon's town--and probably yours-- what's needed is people who are willing to seek Christ passionately with a hunger to go deep. This may be exactly what you've been looking for.
          The first and most impressionable thing that really stuck out to me was the length. Going Deep is long. And I'm not just talking about the number of pages (although it's long that way as well, at 400 pages). The pages would have been no problem for me if it had been engaging and maintained my attention span.

          Don't get me wrong. MacDonald had some interesting thoughts and points, and I found a number of nuggets of wisdom. However, it was just a bit too drawn out for me. For one, the book is fictional -- except for the two main characters, Gordon and Gail -- and follows this "cultivating deep people" experience over the course of two fictional years. MacDonald starts at square one when the idea just that -- an idea -- to when it begins to bear fruit, with all the ups and downs between. With that in mind I didn't really become interested in it at all till I was more than halfway through, at the point where the fictional group actually starts meeting and growing deeper.

          Another thing lacking was emotion and description -- the glue to the plot. Any feelings concerning what the main characters where going through during this venture were flat out told, but rarely carried over to the reader. There was little description -- I'm really not even sure what many of the characters look like. Without anything to be able to relate to as a reader, I didn't feel engaged or connected in any way that would have made a better, lasting impression on me.

          The one other thing that bothered me was the fact that this entire "idea" and experience is fictional. It only has two real characters, and everything else right down to the church and congregation is fictional. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I didn't see anywhere that it has actually been lived out as it is in the book. No evidence that this actually works, that this would actually help a person to deepen in their spiritual growth/leadership. In my non-professional opinion, I think this book would have been better written in a better format, such as a devotional, for example. The entire thought that this is just fictional makes me wonder if it would even be worth a try.

           "Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that just because a person drops out doesn't mean that a mistake was made...Unless you think that Jesus made a mistake with Judas." - Going Deep

           I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program for this review, in exchange for my honest review.

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