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Deep Like Me - Rick Bundschuh

Recommended
Following Jesus is more complex and challenging than anybody expects when they start out on the journey. It's not just attending church, reading your Bible and minding your Ps and Qs; it is an adventure filled with wonder and difficulty, with unlearning and relearning. Rick Bundschuh shares in this book what he has discovered about shuffling after Jesus, and invites readers to wrestle, grieve, re-evaluate, redirect, focus, contemplate, be still and get real about living the life of a disciple. Rick's "extremely profound thoughts" written in the form of story-like musings, are a contemplative look at the Christian way of life that warmly invites the reader to stride, stumble, shuffle or crawl in the footsteps of Jesus.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I picked up this book. More often than not, books written by pastors are generally very practical and instructive. And this is often necessary, since we frequently need good solid teaching on doctrine. However I was pleasantly surprised to find that, instead of teaching the reader, Rick Bundschuh instead relates what he himself has learned over the course of his Christian life. It was refreshing to read a book that was a peek inside someone's heart, to be able to relate to so many different musings, and be encouraged by the lessons learnt by another. If you're looking for some deep and solidly theological teaching though, you won't find it in this book.

Each chapter of the book covers some lesson the author has learnt, but they are written like short stories, rather than a book-long biography. Anecdotes and experiences fill the book with the essence of a scrapbook; snapshots of the writer's life with a Biblical moral of the story as each one's conclusion. The concept of how often we are reluctant to follow Jesus is explored throughout, and I love the encouragement that even though we have our days where we are only crawling towards the finish line, any forward motion is progress. Rick is quite a history buff, so he has woven in different facets of history and how they can be applied to the Christian walk (many Christians wear a metaphorical hair shirt, for example. Definitely one of the best chapters in the book).

The span of topics covered are wide and varied. Whether it's dealing with the annoying guy you work with, money and worth (the $3,000 handbag), holiness, loving your neighbour or prayer, it seems like you are seeing each lesson through the eyes of the learner, without feeling you are being taught. Plus, the author is a full on surfie that is big on practicality and does not have the air of an office writer, so the style is laid back and easy to read yet at the same time, full of clarity.

All good points aside however, I would not suggest this book for younger readers. Content wise, there is one chapter solely based on his experience in dealing with homosexuals, and the difficulties he had having to work in such an alien environment. There are also several references to other maturer topics scattered throughout it, mostly in context with Bible stories. There are no crudely unnecessary or irreverent references, however I thought it would pay to mention.

In conclusion, would this book change your life? Probably not. It doesn't teach or preach, and doesn't give heavy-handed advice or instruction on doctrinal matters. Would it change your thinking? I believe so. Sometimes looking into the heart and mind of another who has walked the same road as you can leave you refreshed, challenged, and encouraged simply by being able to relate to the person's experiences. It's a rare book where you can learn a lot from an author who isn't out to teach you anything.
Jasmine R. began reviewing on Into the Book in December 2011. She has been reading since she could walk, and enjoys a variety of different genres. If she isn't reading, she's writing short stories or playing musical instruments.

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