Thursday, October 3, 2013

When Coming Apart Puts You Back Together

Undone: When Coming Apart Puts You Back Together, as the title indicates, focuses on stripping ourselves of masks and facades, or literally becoming undone, in order to allow ourselves to be what God wants us to be. Laura Sumner Truax, pastor at Chicago's LaSalle Street Church, opens by sharing the experience when she became undone and continues with complete transparency. So often, regardless of how long someone has been a Christian, individuals have broken relationships and unfulfilled expectations, a list of "shoulds" that need to be completed in order to present the image of having life all together, hide behind a variety of masks, and fear having their true self discovered. By combining a variety of anecdotes from her own life, as well as from literature and movies, with insightful depictions from a variety of Bible characters, Truax encourages readers to remove these masks of being good and busy we use to deceive ourselves and others. She then reminds readers we do not have to earn God's love and it is okay to be ordinary rather than perfect. The first step of accepting ourselves as ordinary begins by acknowledging our reality and fears.

After laying this groundwork, Truax reminds readers to have a child-like trust that God is working for us. Each success is precipitated by a failure which urges us to begin again to love others and show God's love as a community of believers. This love begins with the small, daily choices we make to show God's love to others. Truax emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with a community of believers who will both encourage and sharpen you. Reflecting on Undone by Laura Sumner Truax, two items which stand out in my mind is her complete transparency and the skillful manner in which she interweaves a variety of Bible stories into this book. I particularly enjoyed her reminder that while we are all called to be activists, we "are not all called to meet all the needs and pray all the prayers, but we are called to meet and pray for some" (p. 189). We are all called to champion different issues and need not feel badly that we are not as passionate about some issues as other people. The larger Christian community needs and benefits from the multitude of prayers and concerns.

Undone has a great discussion guide making it ideal for use in a Sunday School class or small group for a weekly study or as a one time book club discussion. It is a book to be read slowly and to mull over the concepts rather than to gobble quickly. While the target audience seems to be college age and young professionals, any one who has ever wondered if this is all there is to life will benefit from reading this book. I hope to visit LaSalle Street Church on my next jaunt to Chicago.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from InterVarsity Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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