- Hardcover: 223 pages
- Publisher: Zondervan (14 Dec. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0310325447
- ISBN-13: 978-0310325444
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.2 x 18.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,112,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
ART OF BEING YOU THE Hardcover – 14 Dec 2010
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The Art of Being You People are the artistic masterpieces of God---beautifully drawn, brilliantly scored, poetically rendered. The Art of Being You by Bob and Joel Kilpatrick will help you view God as artistic master rather than master mechanic, and see yourself as his finest work rather than as broken and in need of fixing. Your life will be transformed, and your relationship with God will change forever. Full description
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Top Customer Reviews
In the light of so many "how to books " on Christian behaviour this is a useful tonic that gives a more rounded
view of what life can be like in Christ.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news that God acted decisively in the incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection to justify sin-corrupted humanity, is so astounding that people regard it as scandalous and/or foolishness. Why? Because, the Apostle Paul explains, the message cannot be comprehended or apprehended merely by human reasoning. And yet, as Bob and Joel Kilpatrick assert, the paradigm for most Christian thinking and behavior is human logic, which they label, "Math." Math is very good for helping us understand and function in the material world, but is entirely inadequate (though not unnecessary) for living transcendently with God. "Math doesn't create, it arranges." (p.15)
God is a creator, an artist. Thus art, not logic, is the proper paradigm for perceiving what God is doing in our lives and why. The Kilpatricks assert that God is not the Master Mechanic and we are not problems to be diagnosed and fixed. Rather each of us is seen by God as his work of art in progress. While math can define what is (2+2=4), "Artists make something that never was before." (p.17) For example: Math equates, Art creates; Math brings order out of chaos, Art makes beauty out of the order; Justice is Math, Mercy is Art; Devotions are Math, Devotion is Art. (pp. 14 - 15)
With masterful strokes of illustration from the realms of music, painting and sculpture The Art of Being You guides the reader through the art of loving relationships, spiritual disciplines, sharing our faith, personal limitations, sacrifice, pain, and how to be great art.
Perhaps one might think, "I've already read a stack of books about relationships/spiritual disciplines/witnessing/sacrifice. What can this book possible say that hasn't already been said?" Let me say with confidence that unless the reader is familiar with Dorothy L. Sayers' book "The Mind of the Maker" (to which the Kilpatricks give attributution) almost everything in this book will be fresh and refreshing. Though the book is small it is not lightweight. If you're looking for moralistic therapeutic deism this isn't for you.
True to its theme, the book is a masterpiece of writing that expresses precisely the point with not a single superfluous word. Yet the book is so rich in intellectual and spiritual stimulation that this reader found himself frequently sitting back to savor an idea; allowing it to soak into and challenge a variety of suppositions. It was rather like eating a rich piece of cheesecake and letting each bite melt in my mouth and stimulate every single taste bud. Cheesecake won't change your life, but this book could. I know it has changed mine.
The main point the authors want to make is that God doesn't see us so much as projects to be "fixed," but rather new creations..works of art, "masterpieces."
One of the best parts of the book starts on page 54, FORGIVENESS AS ART. Another great section is the one that talks about the absurdity of life (pg 201-206.)
Throughout the book the authors relate stories about Michelangelo, DaVinci, Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Picasso and Paul Gaugin. Even those of us with no artistic talent or background can easily enjoy these stories and see how well the subject of art relates to how God sees us, His creation.
Great book with a great subject. Highly recommended.
First, the section on Art and Limitations was a breath of fresh air. Writing about the poisonous platitudes we are given by people who say, "You can do anything you want," Kilpatrick writes, "I can't do anything I want, no matter how hard I try. And neither can you. Rather, God has outfitted each of us with a few certain things we can do well. He has put boundaries on us" (142-3). Growing up I heard the same stupid piece of advice about doing anything if we put our minds to it, which in the end is a setup for failure. Kilpatrick is exactly right. We are given a small set of gifts, talents, and passions that we are to put in place and use for the glory of God. A plumber is made in such a way to fix broken pipes in houses. His craft is not that of a master carpenter. In much the same way, if we are spending all our time ministering to high school students but have a great passion and gift for teaching through the Bible to the elderly, we are out of place in ministry. Secondly, Kilpatrick notes that these limitations are not sinful but are God-given (146). Not only this, but when we get frustrated with others because they have different gifts or passions, we should readily admit that they too are given limitations.
Alongside this section, another part that was good was his unartistic examples of evangelism. Too often, in para-church organizations and church led evangelism groups, we are told that street evangelism is the best way to share the good news. Reel them in and God will take care of the rest. Yet, the sinner's prayer and the moment of conversion are part of the parcel of our everyday evangelistic lingo. Rather, "Jesus did call us to tell the story and make disciples -which is not to be confused with making converts" (119). Through examples and illustrations of life stories and the Bible, Kilpatrick bears witness that many believers stake their claim as disciples through seeing a community, through tragic events, even through a long wrestling with questions of faith. Lastly, the street evangelism approach fails to take into account the need for life long followers, people who are more interested in the growth of character than a one time decision.
The part that I felt was excellent is found in the section Art v. Anti-Art. Kilpatrick speaks of how God has made us to be beautiful and then goes on to say, "As with all art connoisseurs, the worth of his art is in the price he is willing to pay for it. He gave the very life of his Son to redeem and remake us!" (57). Yes!! God was willing to send his Son Jesus to endure the shame, suffering, and pain of being put to death on the cross for us. Through death, God has brought about life, life that shines forth in the masterpieces of His holy ones. We need to stop believing that we are bad material for God, for he died for the ungodly, he went to such great depths that no one has even done close what he has done for us. There is no scrap metal in God's people.
The puzzling part for me involved the lack of any good discussion of the study of God's word as a spiritual discipline. I was hoping for even an encouragement to see the Bible as a storybook with a plot looking ahead. The little discussion on the sacraments was not enough. Yet, I did enjoy his high sacramental understanding of the mystery of these sacraments, a view that is seldom understood in the evangelical world.
Lastly, there was one section that I thought could use some more nuance or work. Kilpatrick's section on Art and Pain was sincere in its ideas did not take into account the path of suffering and pain that many face. Kilpatrick writes about his sister-in-law Shelley and her turbulent life. At the end her response is to ask herself, "What can I make of this?" "That sounds a lot different than, "Why, God" (193). I get the point that goal of pain is not to wade in it so long that we begin to lose sighty of reality. Yet, asking the question is of why is a normal human response to great tragedy and suffering. Pain and grief are part of what it means to be human in a fallen world, sometimes it can take times of healing to have a healthy perspective. We should not overspiritualize pain and not deal with the emotional blows many people face who deal with pain. Just because we cry out for an answer does not entail that we are not open to God making us into his masterpiece. It is never the questions and feelings that arise from these situations, but what we finally do with them (let them dominate us or allow healing to take place). Asking the question why is not part of the math equation, at least in my mind.
Overall, this is a book for those seeking to follow Christ who need a breath of fresh air. Not all its ideas you will agree with, but many you will find as good applications.
Thanks to Zondervan for the copy to review.
For example, most followers of Christ take a "math" approach to their spiritual life, breaking it down into a system of "do's and don'ts", with the Bible as their "rulebook". However, as we develop a more in depth understanding of God's grace, and how it operates in our lives, we realize that a mathematical approach can only go so far. To truly grow in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we need to understand Him in terms of "art". Through His creation, God has revealed Himself to us as a great artist. And through studying all that Christ has done for us, we realize that we are God's masterpiece, created to do good works in Him!
In this thought-provoking and engaging book, Kilpatrick masterfully explains what it means to live as God's masterpiece. I can't recommend this book enough, especially for artistically minded people.
-Joshua Lickter, Pastor, Church Planter, Incarnation, Auburn, CA.
In each chapter Kilpatrick presents different thoughts and anecdotes (personal and historical) in exploration of that theme. He masterfully demonstrates his assertion that "any idea worth exploring...has to be broken down in to various facets to be fully realized." Each facet (salvation, anti-art, relationships, spiritual disciplines, sharing our faith, personal limitation, sacrifice, pain, how to be great art, and redemption) reads as easily as a blog post without sacrificing the depth and seriousness the topic deserves. While it's clear Kilpatrick is passionate about his subject, I was struck by how un-preachy the book felt. He takes a tone of relaxed candor that can only come from the pen of a seasoned man of faith and art.
I recommend this book to anyone interested in:
1) An exploration of the Biblical metaphor of people as God's "handiwork" (Eph 2:10)
2) Historical anecdotes about Michelangelo and da Vinci (including one about an exciting mural-off!)
3) Tips for improving your own art
4) Tips for improving your relationship with God