Blogger: Mary Keeley
Location: Books & Such Midwest Office: IL
Crazy Love by Francis Chan, is a recent New York Times nonfiction best-seller. Here is the overview taken from the website:
Have you ever wondered if we’re missing it? It’s crazy if you think about it. The God of the universe—the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and e-minor—loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss.
Whether you’ve verbalized it yet or not . . . we all know something’s wrong.
Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn’t working harder at a list of do’s and don’ts—it’s falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same.
Because when you’re wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.
Hmm. Did Francis Chan, a pastor for 16 years, have his finger on the pulse of what many Christians, both young and older, feel about today’s church experience, their too-small view of God, and their personal relationship with Christ? Apparently so. Crazy Love has sold more than a million copies and continues near the top of the best-seller lists. Clue #1 provides evidence of the timeliness of this book.
Clue #1: Church attendance nationwide is trending down. Studies such as Willow Creek Church’s (the mega-church Bill Hybels started in a suburb of Chicago) revealed that many Christian attendees and members don’t feel they are growing to deeper spiritual levels in the church. It seems Francis Chan was aware of the dissatisfaction with today’s, generally speaking, complacent status quo church experience. However, unlike some in the emergent church movement, Francis Chan’s writes about his love of the church despite its less than stellar ratings.
I see additional clues that may pertain to the book’s success.
Clue #2: The author is straightforward and direct. He knew that his intended audience, those who are searching for more in their relationship with Christ—who want to find what is missing—need a clear map. He first challenges readers to begin with a thorough self-examination, and he doesn’t mince words. When you are searching, you want simple clarity through the fog.
Clue #3: One reviewer referred to this book as “paradigm-shaking.” It is definitely a challenge to individuals and to the church. At least one publisher turned down the manuscript. Too radical? Obviously not among book-buying readers.
The author identified the elephant in the room and dealt with it proactively, based on Scripture.
Is this a technique or approach that might be helpful to you nonfiction writers? How might you fiction writers incorporate this approach into one of your characters? What additional insights do you have into this book’s success?