cover image Your God Is Too Safe

Your God Is Too Safe

Mark Buchanan, Author Multnomah Publishers $12.99 (264p) ISBN 978-1-57673-774-3

Canadian pastor and first-time author Buchanan says that he ""hit the ground running"" when he first became a Christian. He got involved in a church, taught Sunday school and read his Bible regularly. Then things got rote. Buchanan was, in a word, ""stuck."" But he had friends who weren't stuck: the elderly widow who seemed full of spiritual joy, a multiple sclerosis patient with a broken body but a strong faith. So Buchanan set out to write a book that would explain why many Christians fail to progress spiritually and why only a few grow stronger in faith. He concludes that believers reach a plateau when they think God is too cuddly and (as the title suggests) safe. The literary conceit of this narrative is all too familiar in evangelical Christian books: the church is full of euphemism and afloat on pat answers, but this bold, new author is going to be refreshingly honest about how difficult his own faith walk has been. Buchanan may be honest, but the tactic is stale. Equally banal are Buchanan's tips for ""breaking free"": Don't boast about your good deeds. Read the Bible. Confess when you've sinned. Pray. Perhaps his only innovative advice is that Christians take up fasting, a biblical activity that has become increasingly popular among contemporary evangelicals. (Feb.)