Jay Bakker’s new book Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self and Society explores the meaning of grace and how to live out the idea that God loves us unconditionally.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with what Christians mean by the word grace: think of it as being loved, honoured and favoured by someone without doing anything to make them feel that way about you. Usually, but not always, that someone is God.
To be honest I spent the first half of this book waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’ve known more than one Christian who segues from talking about the gift of grace to sharing their list of rules that need to be followed in order to keep it. Jay never does this which was intriguing and surprising.
The best part of the book by far were the grace notes, interludes written by people Jay knows who have lived through difficult experiences. True stories have always been my favourite part of reading books about theology or ethics. There is something about learning what another human being has been through and what he or she has discovered as a result that is a thousand times more informative and instructive than reading a hundred pages of even the most well-written ideas.
This book focuses heavily on the application of grace as it is related to one particular issue. I would have preferred to hear how Jay’s ideas about grace impact his reaction on a wider variety of topics. Too often conversations about grace whittles down to the same subjects over and over again and his message would have been been more effective had its arguments drawn from multiple examples.
I’d recommend this book for Christians who are interested in taking a second look at how they think about God and live out their beliefs. Most of the arguments and Bible stories that are used as examples in this can be easily understood by someone who isn’t already familiar with them but it isn’t written specifically for non-Christians. It’s sort of like visiting a family in the middle of a (good-natured) debate. Those of us outside of the family listen to various points of view but we don’t have a personal stake in how it is all sorted out.
Note: I received this book for free through the viral blogging program at www.theooze.com.