Top critical review
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Read it, but read something else as well.
on 7 December 2011
If you type "the life you..." into the search engine, you can choose between John Ortberg's presbyterian-flavoured Christianity, numerology or hypnosis solutions. How would one choose?
I'm guessing that the 5 star reviewers would unhesitatingly shout "because it's true", and the overall approach of this book is much the same. "Believe it because I say it is". Authorities (of varying degrees of authority) are cited, with bucket loads of anecdotes and the occasional proof text, but assertions are made rather than developed. This and the focus on the individual - from the title onwards - gives the feel of unimaginative, management consulting-style good advice, rather than life-changing spiritual insight.
On the positive side there IS good advice. I found the chapter on prayer particularly useful. The chapters on suffering and confession are thought-provoking.
On the negative side, John Ortberg's churchmanship seems to have led him to ignore the sacraments (Romans can safely skip the chapter on confession) and the traditional liturgical calendar whch locates celebration within the heart of Christian life and introduces fasting as a healthy precursor to feasting. The opposite of emotional coldness is sorrow as well as joy.
I'd suggest reading this book and then reading "What's the point of being a Christian" by Timothy Radcliffe OP by way of contrast.