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This is one of those WOW books that cause you to read something and then quietly close the book, lay it on your lap and meditate on what you have just read So many times while reading this I had to stop and wrap my mind around what I just read Francis Chan has taken the very things that I need to focus on and concisely and passionately expressed them in this book in a way that I totally get How to live my life in a way that I am showing a God who loves me that I love Him back Francis writes in a way that is convicting without seeming judgmental or accusatory He gives examples and every day methods of living out the scriptures I finished this book early this morning and now am deciding who I should give it to next Without a doubt one of the most influential books I have read Read this only if you care about being what God created you to be. Totally whooped my tail Probably THE most convicting spiritual book I ve ever read Challenges you out of any luke warm tendencies Challenges you especially in the realm of giving financially and sacrificially Really, really good prepare to be challenged out of your mind. I ve had a serious theological problem on literally every page of this so far Here are some highlights Chan is dismissive of life, even it s highest joys and lowest sorrows, because the story is about God, not people So that s all that matters In addition, a person s life boils down to how many people they ve saved which seems to mean have gotten to say a prayer Not sure where this leaves, say, Mother Teresa, who focused on taking care of people than convincing them to say prayers.Oh, and now Chan s confronting the problem of hell A student asks how a loving God can demand we love him via threats of punishment, and Chan s response is that God does it for our own good He threatens us because he loves us Wasn t that student listening when her boyfriend hit her It s for her own good, it s because he loves her Apparently God s love for us isn t crazy in the sense that it s so abundantly good, it s crazy in that stalker boyfriend with a knife who ignores a restraining order kind of way So remember when your partner threatens and punishes you, it s acceptable, because that s how God works.Next Ch 4 is a misinterpretation of the lukewarm verse in Revelations for a great interpretation, Rob Bell has a sermon in Mars Hill s series on the Letters to the 7 Churches If anyone s interested, leave a comment and I ll look it up The verse is concerning water both hot and cold water are useful in that time and place, lukewarm water was unhealthy and unuseful Chan says good or real Christians aren t lukewarm, which seems to boil down primarily to morals within sex not getting divorced, not having sex before marriage, not cheating on your spouse this is taken from early Ch 5.This is where I stopped reading I don t feel badly about it there are plenty of great theological authors I d rather put my reading time towards. My initial reaction to Francis Chan s Crazy LoveFirst of all, Crazy Love is a terrible and misleading title for this book It is not about love until, maybe, chapter 10, but by that point it is too late too much damage has already been done It is certainly NOT about God s love for us mortals.When a friend asked me about the book, this was my initial response I was hoping for a good read, but all I ve seen so far a bit than halfway through is an angry God It s as if the title Crazy Love means, You are so stupid and such a failure and so incredibly lame, it is crazy that God, who is disgusted by you and beat up Jesus because of it, would love such a low life as yourself Here is another picture of my reaction to the book The following are summary statements and reflections I made of each chapter I wrote them down immediately after reading each I was honestly summarizing and reflecting upon what I took from that part of the book Chapter 1 Summary God is crazy awesome, stand in awe and fear of him Reflection MISSING the words God is love This should have been first in his list of God s attributes, but that idea was missing altogether instead God seems a bit angry Chapter 2 Summary You might die soon, is your life a waste Reflection Didn t really like this chapter It seems manipulative wrong somehow Excitement for life, not the imminence of death, should be our motivator It seemed shallow to me Chapter 3 Summary God loves you even though you re a stupid sinner Reflection Again, don t like this chapter It s OK, but weak Not compelling Still with the angry punishing God Still will the I deserve death and hell junk Chapter 4 Summary You suck at really following Jesus Reflection He once again seems harsh It occurred to me that Shane Claiborne frames the same kinds of things in a way I find compelling Shane tells stories of living fully committed lives this book just badgers me This book makes me feel attacked Shane in Irresistible Revolution makes me feel inspired and convicted and reflective of my life Chapter 5 Summary You make God sick because you aren t good enough you don t do good enough things Reflection More of the same I make God angry I make God sick I make God disgusted Chapter 6 Summary You need God s help to stop making him so angry and to stop being a pathetic failure Reflection This is a small correction to the rest of the book so far We do need the help of God in order to live fully committed lives Chapter 7 Summary If you are not extremely generous, God will be extremely displeased with you and you ll probably burn in Hell forever Reflection Ok, two in a row that are less bad but still guilt filled and angry God stuff abounds along with a this life doesn t much matter problem That last point, by the way, is a problem with Gnosticism creeping into the Church it shows up when we disparage this world, the earth, matter in general, and think only heaven is any good but that s a longer and different topic Chapter 8 Summary Being obsessed with God will should change everything about your life Reflection By far, the least bad chapter so far Pages 132 3 are very good, in fact But still contains the angry God disgusting human bit Also, almost Gnostic in the way it focused on heaven rather than this earth life Chapter 9 Summary If they can do it, so can you great stories of real people living for God Reflection Finally something compelling not shame anger guilt based Chapter 10 Summary Figure out what God is asking of you and do it Reflection This is of what I expected from the book but it is too little too late The book, in general, feels like old school hell fire and brimstone preaching Point 1 God is bigger than you, Point 2 You are a stupid sinner, you make God angry, and you deserve death, Point 3 luckily for you, God might forgive your sorry self, but you better live right because, like I said in point 2, you are really rotten and deserve to suffer and die That, as it turns out, is the basic outline of Crazy Love I suppose if I were used to Puritan preaching with famous sermon titles like Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God , I might not have been so bothered But I was and I still am Perhaps it is my visceral reaction against hell fire and brimstone preaching that causes me to dislike the book so much.Needless to say, I was unimpressed and disappointed with most of Crazy Love It was NOT what I expected I thought I d be reading a book about God s wonderful, unfailing, increasable, CRAZY love for people What I got was a book about how completely horrible I am and that God is very angry with me and it is crazy that he would love such a punk But, despite my initial and prevailing thoughts, there was some good in the book, and to that good, I now turn.The better parts of Crazy LoveThe best part of the whole book is, without a doubt, chapter 9 and the second best part is chapter 10 Chapter 8 was also mostly good, and chapter 1 has some great things to say.Chapter 9 This chapter contains a number of true stories, stories of people who lived or are living their lives in complete surrender to God The stories inspire, they contain beauty, and they demonstrate the wonderful variety of ways people might give their lives fully to Christ.Chapter 10 This is the second best chapter It does a descent job of communicating the fact that each of us will have our own story to live, our own calling to follow, our own choices to make We should not try to live someone else s life, but our own And that when one lives a life of love, it changes everything Chapter 9 and 10 were of what I expected Too bad they are only 20% of the book and come at the very end Chapter 8 is where the book stopped being so horrible Page 132 contains a quote from Frederick Buechner The encouragement to love even your enemies and even when love doesn t seem safe were very well done However, the chapter was still not great, overall For example, the chapter contains this lovely phrase, God knows what we are, that we are disgusting That, unfortunately, as I read it summarizes the major thrust of Chan s theology and anthropology that is to say, the way he views God and the way he views people God hates me, I disgust God.Chapter 1 The best part of this chapter is the reminder to notice to whom we pray God is wonderful, huge, creative God has made an intricate, delicate, breathtaking world in which we live We should remember this before we pray stand in awe of the creator But, again, there were some problems with this chapter Chan overemphasizes fearing God, that God is about punishment, that Jesus was beat up and killed because God is so upset with me, etc.So What I, personally, would never recommend this book to anyone It seems that Chan is trying to shake up lazy Christians That is a good thing We need to be honest about our lives Too many of us are caught up in materialism, safety, etc Too many of us don t really listen to God, don t really follow Jesus, etc Too many of us, to many churches, are asleep, and we need to wake up But Chan s approach and much of his underlying theology I find offensive, shallow, antiquated, an not at all compelling.Instead of this book, I d suggest two in its place Shane Claiborne s Irresistible Revolution which, ironically, is recommended by Chan himself in Chapter 9 and Mark Labberton s The Dangerous Act of Worship Both of these superior books aim at similar thing as Crazy Love to wake up a sleeping church But Claiborne and Labberton both do it in much better, much compelling ways.And for a book that communicates, in a powerful way, the crazy love that God has for us mortals, I highly recommend The Shack by William P Young It does a wonderful job of painting a picture of God as he truly is Love.Allow me to end with this, my own words to you God is crazy in love with you You make him happy, just because you are you God sings wonderful songs because of and to you He weeps with you when you cry, he laughs with you when you laugh, he enjoys watching you smile even if your mouth is mis formed or your teeth are missing God thinks your eyes are beautiful even if you re blind and that your skin is one of the best things ever even if you are horribly scarred God desires you He not only loves you, he really, deeply, truly, and with no strings attached, LIKES you You see, God IS love it is his very nature And you, you are the Beloved of God You are the object of his affection Allow that crazy love that God has for you to fill you up and empower everything there is about you May you, filled with the love of God, become fully human, fully you May you, motivated by the mind blowing love of God, love other people and all of God s creation in the same way May you see other humans, not as objects of God s wrath, but as objects of Gods unfailing love And see yourself in the same light you, despite whatever shortcomings, failings, or horrific things there are in your life, you are loved by the creator of the universe God likes you and wants you You are loved. Just flip through the ratings on this book It looks like that there are about two possible reactions for a devout Christian to this book It seems like about 60% 80% swear by this book, and the rest dismiss it on theological grounds For me, all through high school, theology was my god God s love, God s grace, and God s compassion didn t register for me I saved myself by knowing how to refute consubstantiation and by knowing what year the Council of Chalcedon was I could argue with the absolute best about predestination infant baptism But it was all shallow, and it was all empty The 18 inches between the head and the heart are some of the longest in the world Forget love it never really struck me that the infinite creator of all the world actually liked me.A lot of things have changed for me in the last few years I struggled deeply with suicidal depression and I nearly lost I was a broken individual let down by my church, my friends, and most especially myself I could say the words Jesus loved me over and over again, providing verse after verse to prove it, but in my heart, I believed God didn t like me one bit God reached me in the darkest stage of my life, and today I m the happiest man in the world.I m not going to say that this book changed my life forever and ever and therefore you need to read it and love it But God used Francis Chan in my life to make me ask questions that I wouldn t have asked otherwise I realized that I couldn t put God in a box He is greater than anything I could ever imagine and, unbelievably, He likes me.I guess, if I have a point, I said all of that to say this I know as well as anyone else that the theology here is kinda suspect I understand that there s a lot emotional arguments than rational arguments But you know what I m not sure that that matters too much Is theology very important Yes Should you hammer Chan for misinterpreting some verses, making a few stretches, and throw out the challenge that the book offers I think that that s a cop out Chan isn t saying that everyone needs to sell everything and live in a van or a commune or something But you need to be willing to At least, that s what Jesus told the rich man in Matthew 19.OK, so not all of the stories make sense Pulling out all of your teeth is over the top Got it Fine But maybe putting your head and your logic above your love for God is dangerous And I can hear you know That s not what YOU RE doing Well, if you re damned sure about that, fine, then the book wasn t written for you But it helps a lot of people who need to hear what this book has to say Lukewarmness is a problem in the church today, and Chan s message, whether you deem is intellectual enough for you or not, is something that the church today has to hear.So many people have missed the point of this book in the reviews It isn t about condemning people to Hell and it doesn t boil you down to how many people you saved It does the opposite It frees you up to live you life with a true sense of passion and purpose St Augustine one time said Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind, and then do what you want It isn t about moving to Ethiopia, but about loving God back Chan understands this I don t believe Chan wants you to move to Ethiopia But if that s what it takes for you to love God back, so be it.As for condemning people to Hell, it does ask everyone to seriously contemplate their faith Matthew 7 21 23 still exists, even if we don t like it Those are to me some of the scariest verses in the bible, and it s important to discuss it openly But as opposed to condemnation, you can approach those verses with the understanding that Jesus both likes you and loves you than you can possibly imagine and that his grace is stronger than you can imagine.This book isn t without its faults Two friends of mine that I think very highly of gave this book a one star rating, and I m sure that they weren t just plugging their ears to reject the premise They aren t luke warm After all, theology is still very important We don t need to please God like the book seems to imply Christ s righteousness is enough for us, which is great because our righteousness is as dirty rags to him anyways Isaiah 64 6 This may not be the best book for a recent convert because of the theology It could be possible to incorrectly get the idea of works based salvation from this book However, this book helped breath new life into my relationship with God It restored my perspective on love and liking not only between Jesus and me, but also between me and my community This book powerfully delivers a message that the American church needs to hear. 4.5 5 stars What an incredibly powerful and convicting read This book really challenged me a lot I m gonna have to change some things after reading it I really like Francis Chan s style of writing and how personable his narration seems.Really really great I have to be honest, I disliked this book I respect what Chan tries to accomplish and for the choices he has personally made, but I disagree with him wholesale on many levels The theme is very Catholic in nature I deserve nothing, I am not worthy, I must constantly suffer, accomplishing personal goals and dreams are only a manifestation of greed and selfishness Guilt, guilt, guilt Ok, fine, I admit it I am a former Catholic I applaud him for walking the talk downsizing his house, taking the same salary as when he first started, choosing a much smaller footprint for church expansion, etc But dreams and goals come from God to begin with So why are they bad I don t agree we should all downsize and live at the same economic level to eradicate poverty He mentions the movement where we all live on 46k per year and donate the rest Redistribution of wealth has been tried and it doesn t work, i.e communism I don t think it s a requirement to demean ourselves and jump on the sword in order to help our fellow man I offer the Parable of the Talents In it the Master rewards the servants who not only used their talents, but multiplied them He punished the servant who played conservative and didn t use the talents given him I offer Doctors Without Borders as an example They work hard to develop their talents and gain personally from those talents, but choose to share their talents, while at the same time not demeaning themselves Chan promotes a radical philosophy that says you downsize so others can upsize To back this up he refers to the Apostle Paul who mentions that in the Jewish culture those who had plenty shared with those who were needy, as someday it might be reversed There is nothing wrong with this, in fact, it is admirable However, he ignores that Paul also stated it shouldn t be a case of now the other person has is easy while you suffer Chan further points to a singular verse in the Bible where it says to sell all of your possessions and give to the poor as being the singular Truth we should all live by His example of this Truth in action is of the guy at his church, upon hearing the Truth, donated his house to the church and moved in with his parents, stating it didn t matter where he lived as long as he has a house in Heaven While this is noble, it says God is finite Everything I have read or heard says God is infinite God s ability to provide isn t like a pie, where there are only eight slices, and if you have two slices someone else gets none.My other problem with Chan s singular Truth is it focuses on one line, sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor He ignores what comes before and after that statement In that passage, Matthew 19 16 26, Jesus prefaces his answer to the rich man by saying If you want to be perfect After Jesus answers the rich man the passage states, The disciples were astounded Then who in the world can be saved they asked Jesus looked at them intently and said, Humanly speaking, it is impossible But with God everything is possible The before and after is significant and can t be ignored for it makes the entire passage less dogmatic and open to other interpretations than just what Chan offers For example, perhaps Jesus is reminding us that as humans we think and operate in terms of limits, and God does not Personally, I m focusing on But with God everything is possible In summary, my fundamental problem with Chan s book is the idea that it s a requirement that we demean ourselves in order to help out our fellow man He gets dogmatic in that he tends to focuse on one line in a passage without considering the whole context The way Chan presents it, success is evil I contend that dreams and goals are not bad, they re good For example, Milton Hershey didn t skimp on his dreams and goals, yet gave away his fortune for the greater good Every Tech Ed program in America can thank him for that I contend that opportunity eradicates povertygive a man fish or teach him how to fish Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Chuck Feeney, and Abraham Flexner are modern day examples of those, like Hershey, who multiplied their talents in the spirit of the Parable of the Talents, and gave back to society We should share our skills, talents, and abundance, but I don t think it s a requirement that we tear ourselves down to do it Thanks for listening. &Free Kindle ⇛ Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God ↟ Have You Ever Wondered If We Re Missing It It S Crazy, If You Think About It The God Of The Universe The Creator Of Nitrogen And Pine Needles, Galaxies And E Minor Loves Us With A Radical, Unconditional, Self Sacrificing Love And What Is Our Typical Response We Go To Church, Sing Songs, And Try Not To Cuss Whether You Ve Verbalized It Yet Or Not, We All Know Something S Wrong Does Something Deep Inside Your Heart Long To Break Free From The Status Quo Are You Hungry For An Authentic Faith That Addresses The Problems Of Our World With Tangible, Even Radical, Solutions God Is Calling You To A Passionate Love Relationship With Himself Because The Answer To Religious Complacency Isn T Working Harder At A List Of Do S And Don Ts It S Falling In Love With God And Once You Encounter His Love, As Francis Describes It, You Will Never Be The Same Because When You Re Wildly In Love With Someone, It Changes Everything Learn About Crazy Love At Crazylovebook This book is incredible One of my all time favorites Chan takes simple truths we have heard our whole lives, but actually challenges and dares us to change our lives. I ll admit up front that I went into this book with a bias I ve seen Chan give talks and read one of his other books Something has itched at me about him This book helps me understand why I have been bugged, but I don t think it s fair for me to speculate too much in public I ll just say that I understand now why he chose to leave his church, seemingly sell his family s possessions and follow the Spirit wherever I don t think he could have published this book with a straight face unless he eventually did so.I ll just say that this book is really one chapter, one sermon, stretched into 180 pages through a saturation of scripture quotes not a bad thing and repetition.My positive take is that Chan is UNDERSTANDABLY concerned about the state of American Christianity and HIGHLY COMMITTED to his understanding of the gospel and the God he sees in Scripture.My theological take is that Chan knows only the law not the Gospel and, ironically for a Pentecostal, does not seem to trust the Holy Spirit to produce fruit, seen and unseen, in the lives of those who hear the Word in faith Chan s gospel is a new and higher form of the law love and nearly entirely misunderstands grace, faith, and baptism He will acknowledge salvation by faith alone, but the entire message of the book is salvation by love alone, as evidenced by a very particular experience of God, personal righteousness, and works of the law It is a strange thing to speak against love, but in our present reality where the old Adam hangs around our necks even as we are new in Christ, we live by faith, not sight, not love, not feelings Love is wonderful when you feel it, but it is fleeting, it is not primary and it is not justifying By his logic, Chan does not want us to trust in the Spirit s work in Word and Sacrament, but instead asks us to turn our eyes back onto ourselves and look for signs of real true crazy love for God and love in action for others I.e., if we are not Beyonce for God, we are not saved Instead of the authentic paradox of a sinner saint like the father in Mark 9, Lord I believe, help my unbelief, Chan sees things in black and white You are all in or all out My pastoral take is that his style and tone can only fail to produce the type of Christians he is calling for Martin Luther s Heidelburg Disputation includes, The law says, Do this and it is never done grace says, believe this, and behold everything is already done Chan s crazy love at best produces obedience, but cannot give freedom, or ironically, love Love is only love when it doesn t score points I don t feel like taking the time to unpack my takes any further, but if you want to engage in conversation or push back, please leave a comment.