Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

9 March 2008

Hokey Pokey Book Review

I first learned about Matthew Paul Turner when I was researching the topic of Christian Sex. He's the author of quite a number of books, including "What You Didn't Learn from Your Parents about Sex". And to be honest... I only learned about THAT from THIS YouTube clip

I began reading his blog called "Jesus needs new PR". Clever... I'm intrigued. I like Christian teaching books as much as the next guy. But as excellent as John Bevere's shot-calling is and as cosmic as Todd Bently's explorations of the spirit realm are... sometimes I wish Christians could just... you know... write. Write books that are funny, insightful, down to earth... real.

I just read an advanced copy of his newest book "Hokey Pokey... Curious People finding what Life's all about". I just really enjoyed reading this book. There aren't hard, fast... churn it into a 4 part teaching package and sell in the lobby revelations... but that's kinda the point. He's a thirty-something year old guy, sick of the Christian nonsense, ready to discover what is really real. He's me! Ahhhhhhhhh...

"Hokey Pokey" comes from the story of a third grade substitute gym teacher after suggesting the children do the hokey pokey:

“What’s the hokey pokey?” asked one of the kids, looking around the room with an expression that said, I don’t think we should do it.
“You don’t know the hokey pokey?” asked Ms. Hartman, throwing up her arms in disbelief, and whispering something naughty under her breath, “Are you kidding me?”
“Is it a game?” asked another kid.
“Well, some might call it a game, but I think it’s more like a song and dance.”
“We’re not allowed to dance,” I said, not wanting to be caught leading any one of my brothers and sisters in the Lord astray. “Dancing is sexual!”
“Sexual? That’s nonsense!” said Ms. Hartman. “You can do this dance! I’m sure even God does the hokey pokey once in a while. Get into a circle!”

Turner begins to retell various discussions with quite a patchwork of friends about life, calling and destiny. Have we really pegged these words right in Christendom? This was what a former boss posed to Matthew:

Now, don’t get me wrong; it might be the nice way to live and the practical way to live, but is it the right way?
At least, is it the right way to live for you? Matthew, I am saying that you’re correct about being called to
something bigger than Jammin’ Java. That’s true for all of us. But that calling might not be what serves as your paycheck. It might not have anything to do with your job. Remember that. Purpose is found in the sum of life. You’re called to live life! Are you doing that?”

Good question... it's not always an easy pat answer. Years ago I felt, "called in the ministry". The first thing I got when I told my Pastor was a brochure to our denominationaly designated Bible College. Thank God I didn't do THAT.

MPT on being a writer,the voice of God, and "calling":

"Sometimes I think the only reason I am still able to continue doing it is because God has graced me with a wife who is my biggest cheerleader, and even when we’re right in the middle of a very hard spot, she always reminds me that I’m not living my calling, that I’m living out God’s. And that what I do is not for me.”

"The big voice was always very kind, and sometimes it “spoke” inside my head with a British dialect; and for some reason, when it did, the dialect made it sound more intelligent, kind of like Sean Connery in First Knight."

“Keep waiting on God, Matthew! He’ll let you know what to do!” And most of the time, though I wanted to believe that to be true, I thought to myself, Yeah, right. Let me be bluntly honest here: Clichés are nice reminders when you can afford to eat, but they are crappy sentiments when you have no idea what you are doing with your life."

"I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my thirties. For me, it has been far better than being twentysomething. I feel more comfortable in my own skin. I’m free to ask questions. Big ones. Small ones. And I’m also okay with other people having answers to some of those questions without feeling like I have to challenge them or arrive at their conclusion. And I’m finally realizing that I won’t ever have all of the answers."

"For some reason, I complicate it. It’s no wonder I have such a difficult time just putting my left foot in and enjoying the dance. I’m learning that the people who dance are those who simply believe that God rarely makes a habit of hiding what he wants us to do. Most of the people I talked to about this book didn’t think finding God’s will was brain surgery. Sure, there are times when we are confused. I mean, most of us are confused a lot. But honestly, I think the “dancers” are correct; I’m not sure it takes all that much “searching” to figure out at least a little about what God desires from us while we’re here on earth."

I love the trend that Christian writing is taking these days. It's very similar to path the church is on. Life-giving without the pretension. Unafraid to question anything, but willing to hear the straight answers. More than anything, I like the freedom of this book. Church culture has left generations of Christians so bunged up that we're left clenching our teeth and "bearing" our faith instead of taking a deep breathe and dancing a bit.

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