peace, love, and having a mind of your own

i refuse to look at life through the lens of tradition.
i refuse to believe everything i am told.
i refuse to live a life that doesn't promote peace, love, and having a mind of your own.

06 May 2011

crabgrass & oak trees review.

okay, honesty time. a friend asked me to review a book, which i was really excited about, because i love reading, and the idea of a free book sounded great. so a few weeks later i get this book in the mail...

crabgrass & oak trees. i looked at it and thought, oh crap. i'm gonna hate this book and then i'm gonna have to give it a bad review because i hate lying, and then i'm gonna feel terrible for giving it a bad review. 

the back cover asks the question "is the church  more like crabgrass or an oak tree?" well i don't give a shit. these guys are comparing something as ancient and widespread and complicated as the church [as in the entire worldwide collection of christians] to a type of grass or tree? not gonna work. they'll stretch the truth to make their metaphor fit. and besides, it sounds boring.

regardless, i started reading... and it wasn't bad. in fact, i kinda liked it. and by the second chapter i had actually cried real tears. it's not easy to make me cry, but some of the stories in this book are just ridiculous. stories of extreme generosity, movements of God, and community as a real experience, not just a "nice idea." because that's what the church is, just a community of people with similar beliefs, who are learning what it looks like to be there for each other.

as someone who grew up hating church, walked away from God, and now by some miraculous sequence of events works at a church, the topic is pretty relevant to me. i've spent a lot of time trying to avoid, fix, figure out, or discover my place in this mysterious organism called the church.

last year while on the world race, i learned a spectacular lot about community, and it's become something that i hold at a high value. community is a powerful concept, with the potential to break or heal people, to exploit or provide for others, to flatten personalities or draw them out. sometimes all at once. the stories in crabgrass conjured up memories from my own experiences of living in community, and laid bare the hopes i had buried of what my community could have been. 

so, who should read this book? anyone who considers themselves part of a [Jesus-following] church. and anyone interested in what a beautiful community looks like. 

who shouldn't read it? literary snobs; people who care more about presentation than content. i admit, i didn't love the crabgrass metaphors. i really just rushed through each one to get to the next good story. and the style of writing was less than fascinating. 

on the basis of aesthetics, no thank you, crabgrass. but the message? pure. brilliant. genuine.


  1. Once again, loved your blog.

    Spent most of the blog laughing after the,"Is the church more like crabgrass or an oak tree?" -"Well I don't give a shit..."

  2. Thanks for your honesty, Keturah, and for not pulling any punches. I loved your review and am glad that you liked the book (more or less).

    You should consider writing more reviews. I would trust your opinion.