4/5. This is a good first step, but, IMO, "wrecked" should be a 2-way street.
First of all, let me disclose that I was provided a free audio copy of this book by christianaudio.com . Mr. Goins read his own work, & the production was superlative.
Secondly, this is an overtly Christian book. If you're a fundamentalist atheist, probably don't bother. Having said thus, though, I think that there is much of value in the pages of this book, faith tradition or lack thereof notwithstanding.
Jeff makes an impassioned plea for people of all ages to get off the couch, open their eyes to the brokenness of life around them, & do something about it. He calls the experience of becoming so aware of that brokenness that the awareness demands action being "wrecked". Most of us in the Western World have become so complacent that this is a good first step–wake up & look around at the suffering that hovers about the edges of our comfortable middle-class lives, then commit to doing something about it. Truthfully, if everyone would do that, the world would be a far better place.
"Life is not about us", he often says–& he's right. We are born into a community, a nation, a world–&, like it or not, we're citizens of them all. As citizens, we have both rights and responsibilities. Meeting those obligations to make our community, our nation, & our world a better place can be hard & painful, but a necessary part of living if we're to be anything other than leeches–& definitely required if what we want is a meaningful life. It's a book that's particularly relevant to the younger generation, but older readers say they benefited from it as well. As a grandparent type, I found his references to his struggles with committing to a job, marriage, buying a house, & parenthood a bit passé, but he writes about where he is, & those are the struggles his generation faces. It's an honest book about a man's successes & failures in doing the right things, & for that it's instructive in & of itself.
Being "wrecked", though, should go both ways. Not only should the person performing a service undergo a transformation, so should the person being served, if the work is truly effective. That last is a point Mr. Goins seems to miss. Certainly there were times when Jesus engaged in ministry simply to ameliorate a need, e.g., feeding the multitudes. But the majority of his ministry was transformative–it brought about a change far greater than regaining of a physical function, having enough to eat for a day, etc. Merely meeting needs fosters dependence. The real need is to show people that they're important, unique, & that the world without them & their contribution isn't the place it should be. Certainly in many people, that transformation never takes place–only 1 of 10 lepers returned to thank Jesus for his healing, for example, but it should be the goal of all ministries. Jesus almost always expected something of those he helped, e.g., "go show yourselves to the priests". Those engaged in service would do well to do likewise. I felt that was a point the author missed, & I found it disturbing, as without it, there are just 2 camps–the helpers & the helpees.
Mr. Goins at one point spoke rather disparagingly of both himself & a paramedic for turning away from a man who was spitting blood. I wonder if he feels the same now that he has a child, for whom he would likely not be able to be a father, if he contracted aids. "Love your neighbor as yourself," Jesus once said. It rather follows then, that without love for oneself, no one can truly love another. The instinct to protect oneself was merely an outgrowth of self-love (as opposed to selfish love), & should in no way be denounced. It's another point I felt Jeff failed to grasp, or at least to make.
I certainly think Mr. Goins has a good heart, a great deal of potential, & that this first book regarding something other than writing is a good start. I'd like to see him revisit "Wrecked" in light of 20 additional years or so of experience. I'll be watching his endeavors with interest, & I hope I live long enough to see him publish "Beyond Wrecked". I think it'll be superb.
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