Crazy Love was recommended to me on numerous occasions. It came up in conversations and the things I heard intrigued me. Conviction, motivation, and confrontation of passivity. Living a life of love in response to love. So I read the book. Here are a few points that stuck out to me.
Sincerity is not enough
There is much we do not know or understand about God. Yet some things have been revealed to us. Chan cautions readers that sincerity does not justify believing whatever we choose about God. He compares it to describing a friend as a large sumo wrestler and as a slender gymnast. Regardless of the sincerity of the descriptions your friend cannot be both of them. This point is delivered in the context of focusing on the revealed attributes of God instead of making assumptions or being oblivious.
The issue of control
I think the default attitude of the average person is that life is about me. Some people think more broadly and include their families. Some include friends. Some even think about helping others. Chan points to Colossians 1:16, which when speaking of God states that “. . . all things were created for him.” With this in mind Chan reminds his readers that God does not answer to us. Who are we to question an all-powerful God? “Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation?”
Believers are not lukewarm
Chan makes strong statements about people who respond to the Gospel in a lukewarm fashion. Citing Revelation 3:15-18 he believes true Believers will not be lukewarm, thus being lukewarm would be a descriptor of the unsaved. Part of the argument for this position is an appeal to the emphasis on full commitment in the Gospels.
This made me think. As someone prone to have an even keel–and consequently spending little time on peaks and in valleys–the concept of being lukewarm is something I think about. In this world the tension between my noble desires and lesser desires causes a constant battle. All too often I choose to be comfortable and lazy. While I see this weakness as a bad thing, I would not consider it lukewarmness (as defined in the Revelation 3 passage). I see the defining mark of lukewarmness as the belief that I am self-sufficient and “do not need a thing.” In this context the Gospel is not accepted (hot) or outright rejected as untrue (cold), but rather seen as unnecessary.
So I am inclined to say I agree with Chan’s premise.
One small point that jumped out at me (because it is something I think about) is the concept of putting safety above knowing God. Here is an excerpt:
We are consumed by safety. Obsessed with it, actually. Now, I’m not saying it is wrong to pray for God’s protection, but I am questioning how we’ve made safety our highest priority. We’ve elevated safety to the neglect of whatever God’s best is, whatever would bring God the most glory, or whatever would accomplish His purposes in our lives and in the world.
Would you be willing to pray this prayer? God, bring me closer to You during this trip, whatever it takes. . .
How to love
Chan presents stories of dramatic sacrifice. At times these stories can be overwhelming, seeming like the only proper responses to God’s love are to sell your house, move to Africa, or get martyred. But Chan does not intend to motivate his readers with guilt. In fact, when searching for direction Chan recommends simply pondering whether actions demonstrate love for God and for neighbors (neighbors being defined like Jesus would define them). The important thing is to avoid merely thinking about acting in love. Turn that thinking into doing. Our society assumes and condones that we will pursue comfort, but love is not always comfortable. It is important to remember, however, that the goal is not discomfort, it is love.
I’ve been thinking about living in response to the Gospel lately, so this book resonated with that. When I review what I’ve read and made notes about in this book, it serves as a series of reminders. Reminders of things I have heard before but still struggle to put into practice.
I’m glad I took the time to read this book. It reminded me of some of God’s attributes and challenged me to think about how I show love to God and the people around me.