Read the full review of Dug Down Deep (posted January 19, 2010)
Dug Down Deep is the latest book by Joshua Harris, author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye & Stop Dating the Church and pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Set to release January 19, 2010, the book focuses on the practical importance of theology in the life of every believer as it shares Harris’ journey to having an informed knowledge of God as the foundation of his spiritual life. Harris and Multnomah Books have kindly made the first chapter of Dug Down Deep available as a free preview, which you can read here:
[scribd id=21019814 key=key-1fuuazwevfsdro5pqibp]
So… how’d I like it?
Honestly, it’s really, really good.
Harris immediately engages readers sharing his wife’s occasional fantasy of becoming Amish (“when life feels too complicated or when she’s tired of doing laundry,” he says, tongue firmly planted in cheek) and her disillusionment with that fantasy upon discovering rumspringa (literally “running around”), the Amish tradition of releasing teenagers to experience everything the outside world has to offer—sex, drugs, rock & roll. You name it, it’s fair game. Watching Lucy Walker’s fascinating Devil’s Playground, a documentary relating the experiences of Faran and Velda during rumspringa, he found himself wondering, “What are they really going back to? Are they choosing God or just a safe and simple way of life?”
This is his launching point for sharing his own experiences as the girl-crazy, somewhat rebellious oldest son of an evangelical Christian family. “Although my rebellion was tame in comparison, it was never virtue that held me back from sin. It was lack of opportunity. I shudder to think what I would have done with a parent-sanctioned season of rumspringa,” he writes. “The bottom line is that my parents’ faith wasn’t really my faith.”
I really appreciate Harris’ honesty throughout the chapter. He doesn’t seek to cover up his own sinfulness, nor his past shallow understanding of the Christian life. But what really impresses me most is his evident passion for theology; that is, having a correct understanding of who God is. “Theology matters, because if we get it wrong, then our whole life will be wrong… We’re all theologians. The question is whether what we know about God is true.” This is a point that can’t be over emphasized, particularly as we continue to wrestle with the effects of the postmodern era, which views “theology,” “doctrine,” and “orthodoxy” as an unholy Trinity of cuss-words.
Many of us have what Harris refers to as a “theology allergy.” And that’s tragic. As Harris writes,
The irony of my story—and I suppose it often works this way—is that the very things I needed, even longed for in my relationship with God, were wrapped up in the very things I was so sure could do me no good. I didn’t understand that such seemingly worn-out words as theology, doctrine, and orthodoxy were the pathway to the mysterious, awe-filled experience of truly knowing the living Jesus Christ.
They told the story of the Person I longed to know.
The first chapter of Dug Down Deep is both highly entertaining and extremely thoughtful; if this is an indication of the rest of the book’s quality, it will no doubt be worth your time.
Thanks Josh Harris and Multnomah Books for the preview—Looking forward to reading the rest of it!