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An interesting trip thru the Beatitudes. I enjoyed this one. I almost didn't read it because one reviewer compared Matthew to Donald Miller. I like Miller's writing style, but don't always agree with his theology. But I didn't have that problem with Matthew Turner. He was spot on, and his style is a lot like Millers, so it all worked out. Matthew is very open and honest (to the point of embarrassment) as he takes us along as he 'relearns' Jesus. Lots of good stuff in this one.
The author's honesty/vulnerability is refreshing. I always appreciate a book where the author can talk so candidly about himself that you can't help but think he's talking about you, too. And the Beatitudes happen to be some of my favorite teachings anyway - there's so much depth there - so this was an enjoyable read for me.
I got this book a few days ago and read it today. It is a thoughtful and yet provoking read that helped me view the beatitudes in a different way. I enjoyed it and recommend this book to those who are interested in a honest and refreshing reading of the beatitudes.
Author Matthew Paul Turner consistently treads on the edges of discomfort that may leave some Christians feeling somewhat "uncomfortable," and that's okay. Turner's genuine love for Christ (and fellow Christ followers) is refreshing, as is his candidness in facing and dealing with personal struggles. Readers will breathe a huge sigh of relief as they realize that Turner's honesty in confronting and battling sins is no different from their own. While it's most consoling to realize that one is not alone in the fight against personal demons, Turner takes Christians a step further and encourages them to read the Beatitudes from a completely different slant, thus empowering them to believe, live and do life differently. Better.
Turner opens his text with a riveting story of a time when he was needing desperately to hear from God after another bout with staving off the occasional porn habit. He recalls reading Matthew 5 for maybe the 857th time at the urging of a friend and then feeling numb. Still desperate for a word from God, he put his face down on the table at the coffeehouse, not caring what anyone thought, and stayed that way for 32 minutes. When he next lifted his head, Turner recounts God giving him a verse to contemplate. Here's what it said: "You're blessed when you get your inside world --- your mind and heart --- put right. Then you can see God in the outside world." Turner got up, quickly gathering his things and spilled his drink all over the floor and onto another customer. Turner began cleaning up the mess and continued to apologize to the gentleman he had splattered. Ironically, the man didn't mind the mess; he was simply glad Turner was still alive after his 32-minute retreat from the world. So began his new look into the Beatitudes.
From there, Turner takes one section of the Beatitudes at a time and dissects it with loving care. Each chapter is chock full of personal and real-life anecdotes to help readers understand and see what Jesus really meant when He spoke these timeless words of truth. Then, Turner ties up the topics with a pertinent Pause and Reflect section for careful readers to study and consider and then make application.
One of the most telling chapters Turner offers is "The Heart Part," which is underscored by Matthew 5:8: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Throughout this section, he transparently discusses how essential it is to have a "right heart" because otherwise everyone is simply running from something, trying to outrun, outwit and out-maneuver their next bout with falling into some sinful act that destroys their lives and the lives of those around them. Turner discusses how confession does a body (and soul) good --- that and falling down before Jesus and depending 100% on him to protect and provide. He admits he's falling down lots these days, but he wouldn't have it any other way: "I don't expect perfection anymore, but I do anticipate grace."
Beautifully written and lovingly presented, Turner's in-depth look-see in the Beatitudes will have readers taking a much closer look for themselves. As they do, their worlds will change.
Matthew Paul Turner takes another look at the Sermon on the Mount in Relearning Jesus. As usual, it is written in the casual and thoughtful tone that Turner is known for, and the book delivers like his books usually do.
There is nothing really new about this book; there have been countless books on the Beatitudes. What's different is the personal nature of Turner's work. He doesn't try to break each beatitude into a million pieces or discuss their theological significance. He simply relates how he has tried to implement the beatitudes in his own life, and the affect is has had in his life. The result is a humbling work that makes you feel human and capable of living as a Christian. Turner relates personal stories of mercy, peace, and humility in his life, noting successes and failures. The book culminates in an interview with Unknown Preacher Guy, who is an actual pastor and respected theologian, but remains anonymous in this book. The interview gives another perspective on the Beatitudes.
This is a quick read that is refreshing. It's a great read on your lunch break, helping you realize that there are other people struggling with the same issues of Christianity that you are.