I love stories. Especially when you hear about a life that was transformed or changed through an experience that they went through (good or bad). I love when my spirit is bubbling up inside me as I listen to a story and when it gets to the end I can boldly say to the story-teller, “That’s the God I know!”
As I sat down to read this book over a few days, I was excited because I had used several of the videos from I AM SECOND in various youth ministry contexts. Each video is visually simple yet powerful, verbally thought provoking, and very inspiring. (I used three “V” words there, cool!). I am also a person who loves things visual, seeing a person share their own personal story, seeing their facial expressions of joy or pain is very powerful. Yet when I read, I love to visualize what I’m reading.
As I began the book I kept having this sense of confusion come over me because it wasn’t clear to me who was telling each of the stories I was reading. Every story, through out the whole book, kept switching from first person to third person. I then jumped ahead to a story I had seen on video that impacted me personally and started reading with expectation. I was let down because as a reader I wasn’t sure who was telling the story. I was left confused.
There are many ways to tell a redemptive story and I know that the redemption that God offers to each one of us is mind blowing. The big problem I had with the book was that the redemptive story of God seemed hidden, missed, not communicated well, I’m not sure what. When someone has a life changing encounter with the living God it is usually very clear to everyone through two ways: 1) their life changes (behaviour, decisions, attitude, thoughts, language, body language, etc…), 2) the reason for the change is clear, they tell you that it was because of their life intersecting with the living God and his son Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Some of the stories in the book I AM SECOND seem to lack a depth of the redemptive story and the life change that each person went through when they encountered God through Jesus Christ. I’m not sure if that’s because the authors wanted it that way or if the person telling the story was not coached on how to tell the story of the redemptive work of God in their life.
Overall, if you are looking for a book to read about how various people go through a rough/rock-bottom experience and they emerge on the other side without drowning and discover God, then this is a book you will enjoy. If you are looking for a book that is very well written and explains in detail the redemptive work of Jesus in the life of various people, then this is not the book for you.
My recommendation is to watch the I AM SECOND videos for free. The book is not a must have on my book shelves. Stick with the videos.
I received this book from Graf-Martin Communications to review and my opinions are my own.