Skip to main content

Will Jesus Buy Me A Double-Wide? by Karen Spears Zacharias--my review

A few months ago, I was given a free copy of "Will Jesus Buy Me a Double-Wide?", by the author, Karen Spears Zacharias, for participation in a Haiti relief effort. I mention this for two reasons: first, a new law says that bloggers who review a complimentary book must disclose that they didn't pay for it; in this case, it's worth adding that Ms. Zacharias didn't ask me to review the book.

Reason #2 why I mention that the book was a free gift is that, frankly, I most likely wouldn't have read it otherwise. After all, it's about the damage done by the teaching known as the Prosperity Gospel. These days, it seems that we are bombarded with people telling us they are against things. Everyone from Beck to Maher to Limbaugh to Olbermann tells us constantly why they are against something. So this book's main point is that there is one more thing to be against? No, thanks. I'm good.

But when it comes to this book, throw all of that kind of reasoning out. "Double Wide" is wonderful, and is nothing like I imagined it. If I would have skipped it, it would have been my loss.

Rather than lay out an extended theological manifesto, Zacharias simply tells stories of individuals, one per chapter. Real people, living out their lives while influenced, in varying degrees from one end of the spectrum to the other, by the Prosperity/Word of Faith/name-it-claim-it teaching.

Because Luke 6:44 says we are to judge a teaching by its fruit, we are compelled to see how this teaching plays out, and Double Wide offers us a chance to do exactly that.

In one chapter, we see a godly woman's body get ravaged by cancer, an apparent conflict with the word of faith belief that good health is ours if we stay true to God. In another chapter, we see a woman who starts a business, only to see the business blossom; she becomes a millionaire, then proceeds to use her wealth to help orphans in the Ukraine. The former story is simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting, while the latter episode demonstrates what I believe to be more theologically correct: God does in fact bless some people with more wealth than they need, but with the purpose of blessing those who have less. The term I like for this is "The Gospel of Generosity".

If this were a sermon rather than a book review, I could lay out the Gospel of Generosity theology very nicely, with several supporting verses. Zacharias could do the same, but she wisely chooses to tell stories. As many post-2000 authors from John Eldredge (Epic) to Donald Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years) have pointed out, God lays out His truth to us in story form. It's a much more readable, graspable, and ultimately more powerful way to deliver a truth to a reader. And Zacharias does it masterfully.

More than anything I have read this year, I highly recommend this book.  You'll be glad you read it. 

On the outside chance that the author see this: Thanks for the book, Karen.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Embarrassing video clip--John Cougar

I recently stumbled across some Youtube gold: a live performance by John Mellencamp when he was Johnny Cougar. He appears to be have been about 23, and he's singing "Ain't even Done With The Night", in front of a fairly unresponsive crowd with Bobby Bare (?!) in the front seat. Cougar/Mellencamp is dressed in a nerdy sweater and generally bears no resemblance to the singer as we knew him just 5 years later. He looks a lot more like Potsie from Happy Days than the guy who sang "Pink Houses". Certainly, there is no way to watch this and make a connection to the guy whose song "This is Our Country" beat us to death by overuse in pickup truck commercials. But the real entertainment value from this clip comes from the guys behind Cougar. In hot-pink tuxedos, there are 5 Pips-like backup dancers/singers who don't sing, but clap their hands real well. They essentially spend the entire song performing cheerleader dance routines not unlike those

I Am Legend: Someone Please Help Me Understand

I recently watched " I Am Legend " for the first time in a couple of years, and the 2nd time ever. I'm not a big zombie-movie guy, but this one is different. My first time watching this film left me satisfied with the notion that I had seen a well-thought-out, intelligent movie, not afraid to pull punches nor to explore important topics that go way beyond typical zombie/apocalyptic movie fare. The second go-round, though, was disappointing. I noticed plot holes so blaring, so huge, they could not be ignored. I was left with an uneasy feeling that I had been duped the first time around, tricked into thinking I was watching something thought-provoking and cleverly put-together. I'm holding out hope that the incongruencies I observed were based on some misunderstanding on my part. That's why I am inviting you, the reader, to help explain to me those items which are troubling me, and to assure me that the "I Am Legend" plot is not as full of holes as i

The Two Christmases

As I walked through the front door of the Post Office to make my stamp purchase, I was faced with a choice. On my left was a vending machine, and to my right was the customer service desk, where I could make the purchase from actual human beings. Because there was no line at the moment, I chose the human interaction. I strolled up to the middle-aged, slightly balding postal employee, read that his name was "Rex", and I asked for two books of stamps. As it was mid-December, Rex asked me "would you like Christmas stamps, or...". Once I realized he wasn't about to complete the sentence, I looked down and saw that he was holding some very un-Christmas-like stamps bearing images of the Liberty Bell and the word "Forever." Knowing that my wife had planned to mail several Christmas cards, I told him "One of each." To my surprise, the decision-making did not stop there. Rex hit me with a follow-up: he held up two types of stamps: one had a pi