My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Review: How to Talk about Jesus without Looking like an Idiot: A Panic-Free Guide to Having Natural Conversations about Your Faith

How to Talk about Jesus without Looking like an Idiot: A Panic-Free Guide to Having Natural Conversations about Your Faith How to Talk about Jesus without Looking like an Idiot: A Panic-Free Guide to Having Natural Conversations about Your Faith by Andy Bannister
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are a number of reasons why christians might struggle in talking about their faith; and for the most part, I think the author does a good job identifying most of them in the first three (3) chapters. Perhaps the most significant one that I have encountered, and is missing from this book, is that many christians really don’t have a lot of depth to their faith and they are comfortably fine in their own little bubble with no real desire to learn more about it (or themselves). Regardless, christians are expected to evangelize and this book does have some good general ideas on how to do that; however, it falls down in the specifics that rely too heavily on gotcha moments and logical fallacies (I am looking at you scarecrow). For example … that author makes a huge deal about relative moralism and how it just doesn’t work, ignoring any nuance introduced by social needs … in other words, either it is every man for themselves or there are objective truths that must by nature be determined through divine revelation. Next up … the belief that good and evil are solely christian concepts because you can’t define evil in a relative moralistic society … et al. If any of these arguments actually work, you need to find a better class of atheist ‘cause even I can swat those soft pitches over the back wall.

But that is not why this book actually fails to prevent you from looking like an idiot. The whole premise of this book is how to drive openings into personal interactions so that you can engage in apologetics. This type of ambush theology is exactly what makes “crunchy christians” (define by the author as christians people go out of their way to avoid). It may work for the author, who is obviously quick-witted and disarmingly humorous, but for the rest of us, it’s a mixed bag (and there is a growing body of research that indicates that apologetics is not very effective in driving conversion). In other words, you may not feel like an idiot, but that opinion is not shared by your target audience. That is not to say that you would not gain any useful tips, tricks or ideas … only that some tweaking (and practice) is needed before achieving the results you may be looking for.

Chapter 1 Undercover Christian
Chapter 2 The Sum of All Fears
Chapter 3 The First Steps to Total Fear-Less Evangelism
Chapter 4 Evangelism in Everyday Places
Chapter 5 The Power of a Good Question
Chapter 6 Learning Questions From the Master
Chapter 7 A Toolbox for Evangelism
Chapter 8 The What Question
Chapter 9 The Why Question
Chapter 10 The Wondering Question
Chapter 11 The Whether Question
Chapter 12 Five Simple Steps for Answering Tough Questions
Chapter 13 Bringing It Back to Jesus
Chapter 14 How Not To Be a Crunchy Christian
Chapter 15 Foolish Evangelism

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#HowtoTalkaboutJesuswithoutLookinglikeanIdiot #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.