Overall my impression of the book was this:
Glad you asked.
The basic premise of this book is that God's love is underestimated. That is perfectly true. It compellingly says that God can't be underestimated, and that He chases us desperately, and His love knows know bounds. That is also true.
However, there are some logical holes that needed to be patched in this book.
First, I'll give credit where credit is due, and then I'll list the problems that I have with this book.
1. It's touching: Butcher (a name that seems amusingly ill-suited for a pastor) tells quite a few stories of people who lived absolutely terrible lives, and then were touched by God's love. He tells about murderers and rapists who absolutely melted when they saw the slightest glimpse of kindness.
2. It's simple: Long, complex books are great. But shorter, simple ones are more easily read. If you follow politics at all, you know that huge sentences aren't always good. Small is good. Small wins bigly. If you watched the Presidential debate last night, you know what I mean. I think I'll stop before I begin ranting on unrelated subjects. ;)
3. It can be deep: In some parts, it breaks through the simplicity, and actually breaks into the realm of the profound. For instance, Kevin observes that our relationship with our heavenly Father is often affected by how we view our earthly father. If you intellectually know that your earthly father loves you, but you never really feel that love, than it's likely that you'll view God in the same way. You may believe that He's kind, maybe even somewhat actively benevolent, but nothing more.
That is absolutely not the truth. One of the things that this book does is well is shatter that myth. It explains that God truly loves you, in a personal sense. The kind of love that would smash down the walls of the Kremlin to rescue you, or fight a Navy Seal team to save your life. The kind of love that would die for you, and longs to live with you.
1. Scripture paraphrases: Please... if you are only quoting two or three verses at a time, actually give me the original version. Not a paraphrase. Not the KBSV. (Kevin Butcher's Special Version) The actual Bible is a great improvement. I understand summarizing a story, or a chapter. But to summarize just one or two verses makes me not trust you.
This is especially true when you're summarizing something like John 13: 5-6, 19. I got tired of looking up scripture references, when the verses could have so easily been given in full. For that reason alone, I can't recommend this book.
The first sappy story was wonderful. So was the second, and the third. By the time that saccharine sweet tale #1639 (perhaps a bit of an exaggeration) rolled around, I was wondering how long it would be until the book was done.
3. Questionable theology: Maybe I wouldn't feel this way if he'd provided some relevant scripture references, that weren't the KBSV version. But I doubt it. The main thing that stood out here was near the end, where he claimed that some individuals on Earth aren't touched by God's love... but they're still Christians. In one case, he cited a man who had a habitual drinking problem... and after he died, he still was a habitual drunkard, with the exception that he was normally sober in church. He eventually died of alcohol abuse. He refused to stop drinking, even when begged by Kevin.
Is it possible that someone can know that his sin is wrong, and be saved, and yet live in it for ~6 days a week? I can't find any indication in the Bible that says so.
We all sin, and everyone has sins that are thorns which pierce deeper than any other into our side. Sometimes, they become red and enflamed. Fortunately, I'm not that man's judge. But I still feel like the theology in this book, if not outright wrong, is inexcusably ill-supported.
Here are a few quotes from the book. I won't torture you with too many.
"And I finally got it: I had missed God. I had believed in God but never really known him."
"We start to heal by seeing the connection between the way our fathers either did or didn't attend to attend to our hearts and how we have to come and experience God as our Father. "
Christianity, Non Fiction, Theology.
Many of the people in this book led lives of crime and prostitution, and a few disturbing incidents are recounted.
Due to the crime and prostitution, there is some violence.
*disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. The thoughts expressed are entirely my own, as you can probably tell by the fact that the author would be more likely to grimace at me than pay me for this review. ;)*