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4.6 out of 5 stars
Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on 6 November 2003
If you've ever felt that you were probably the only person in the world who felt so messed up, or thought that people only liked you because they didn't realise how horrible you are inside, this is the book for you.
John Ortberg writes challenging books that also provide comfort for those who struggle along the way, and "Everybody's Normal..." is no exception. Starting from the theological concept of "depravity", Ortberg explains in an easy-to-grasp way that all human beings are like the goods in the "slight seconds" part of the store; we all carry an "as is" tag that means we have a fault somewhere. We can try to hide our faults by becoming high achievers and feeling superior to everyone else, often putting others down in the process, or we can withdraw into superficial relationships, never revealing ourselves for fear of how others will react.
However, this book suggests, there is another way, and so introduces the main theme of living in community. Much of the book is taken up with exploring what it means to live in community with others, and the attitudes and behaviour that genuinely make community a spiritually nourishing place. Again there is a clear theological base for this, with a discussion on the relational nature of the Trinity that presents an extremely complex idea in a way that fits in with the reader-friendly tone of the rest of the book.
While possibly not a book for those who have no knowledge of the christian faith - Ortberg refers to concepts and stories which he explains in simple terms, but still assumes his readers will be aware of them - this could easily be read by someone new to christianity who wants to make a difference in his or her life, as well as by a person who knows the in and outs of the faith and wants to be challenged afresh.
As the back of the book makes clear, this is not a self help guide that will help you to get along with all those dysfunctional people out there. John Ortberg is clear that we start from recognizing that we are as dysfunctional as the rest of them, and that God loves us, not in spite of our faults (or because of them), but because he longs for a deep and nurturing relationship with us. Yes, we need to change some of the ways we relate to ourselves, to others and to God, but the picture that this book describes of God's kingdom community makes it seem very worthwhile.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2003
This is a book that will keep you reading it until the last page. It's easy to understand and reflect much of our lives (common people). The author focuses on the human desire to build friendship and community. You will be able to determine to whom should you tell all about yourself. There are a lot of humor in this book, so you won't get bored. The illustrations are very live, I bet you haven't heard in any sermon. If you're looking for a book that will change your perspective, I just recommend this book.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2006
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time - it challenges us about what is means to live in God's community, transforming the way we look at people and our relationships with others. It uncovers struggles as well as providing new ways to tackle difficulties and attempts to restore God's heart for community to the centre of ours. This is a great read, and addictive. Rarely does one find such a 'Christian' page-turner as this. Easy to read and understand, this is a fun and also challenging book! Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2010
I have been truly gripped by this book.

The effortless and engaging way in which it is written more than compensates for the fact that it is not really about normality. The title is a route into moralistic religious writing of the highest, non-dogmatic standard. That I am an atheist and thoroughly enjoy his many words of wisdom probably says it all. He has had the sense to back up his ideas with appropriate research findings, and these really adds weight to his carefully constructed stories. Parables almost. A fine, enlightening read for all.
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on 18 September 2011
A very interesting book about community and how we all fit into it. As you would expect it contains a lot of reference to God / Christianity, which to start with is fine, but as the book continues I found that it became a bit too much God referenced. I read it as part of my church group, and it has provoked some very interesting discussions. It didnt give me any new information, but did make me think deeply about some areas of my life.

Would recommend it if you are already a Christian, but probably not if you arent. My DH is an agnostic, and he found it very annoying and gave up reading it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2009
Excellent book for those struggling to live in a Christian fashion in relationship with other people. Thoughtful exploration of nature of community.
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on 27 June 2010
If you are a house church or house group, this is a very good tool to measure what sort of relationships you have. John Ortberg opens up the life of Jesus to show us what it sholud be like to be live in community properly, as the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit have done from the begining. Jesus said "let them be one as we are one", this book takes you on that journey. Welll worth reading
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on 16 July 2013
John Ortberg's words just flow across the page and there's such insight into the human person. I first read "If you Want to Walk on Water, you Need to get out of the Boat" and felt I needed to learn more of what the author had to offer. I believe that non Christians would also benefit from reading this book.
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on 9 May 2014
An excellent book! It looks at the way we’re all flawed, and makes suggestions for true acceptance of others, and building real community. Scriptural background, interesting anecdotes – some at the expense of the author – and clear, thought-provoking commentary. Highly recommended.
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on 19 June 2012
An Easy Read & Very thought provoking. The author gives amusing account while getting serious messages across. Can be used for group discussion which is very profitable. Brilliant!Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them
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