I requested this book as an advance reading copy from NetGalley as I thought it might be useful for my youth groups. Although the book is pitched at a lower age range than I usually teach, I thought it would have some material that would be helpful.
And I think I was mostly right. I think actually if I was to use this book with my teenagers, I wouldn’t have to do much adaptation in terms of aging the material upwards as some of it was pretty complex stuff (I had to read some parts a couple of times to get it and I’m definitely wayyyy above the target age range).
One of the reasons I don’t think I’d use this book with my groups is that it was very American. And that’s not meant to be an insult, just that the stories in the book that are supposed to make it more relatable just weren’t for me and wouldn’t be for my teens.
However my bigger problem was that there were a couple of parts I read where I cringed a little bit.
There’s a section where the author compares the spreading of sin to the spreading of coronavirus. And I know that it was meant more to describe how fast and wide sin spreads, but when I first read it my immediate reaction was “did they just say that coronavirus was caused by sin?!”. And I know that’s not what they’re saying, but if that was my reaction, I wouldn’t want my teens to think that too, especially knowing how deeply Covid has affected people. I think it’s just an analogy that’s too close to home.
There’s also a part which goes into the literal creation story, which we’ve talked about at youth group before and about how we don’t think it should be taken literally, but the book is very clear on its opinions and I think that would put my kids off.
All in all, I think this book was a great way to introduce kids to the many different names of Jesus and how we can see the different aspects of who he is, but I don’t think the book was really one for me.