I’m going to start a new practice. Whenever I read a good book, I’m going to review it for you on my blog. This time my review is on John Ortberg’s latest book, The Me I Want to Be, Becoming God’s Best Version of You.
John Ortberg has been one of my all-time favorite authors. However, his last few books have left me somewhat frustrated. This book is no exception, however, I must say that I enjoyed it better than I have some of his more recent titles like, When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box, and God is Closer than You Think. (To be fair, I did not read another more recent title, Faith and Doubt)
If I were to rate The Me I Want to Be, I would give it a B+. Some of his other older titles I would have given an A or even A+. Those titles are, Everybody’s Normal till You Get to Know Them, Love Beyond Reason, and If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat.
I’m going to start with what I didn’t like first, since I want more emphasis given to what I did like than what I didn’t. What I did like overshadowed my dislike of certain aspects of this book.
Here’s what I didn’t like about The Me I Want to Be:
- I didn’t agree with his advice in chapter 4. He said that if going to church has become an obligation to you, (perhaps out of a difficult season in your life), quit going for a while with the belief that your desire will return. I strongly disagree. I think this is dangerous advice. If we cut ourselves off from church and biblical community during those vulnerable times, I believe, we are allowing a tired spiritual life to turn into a calloused one. Those are the times we need to seek support from other Christ-followers the most.
- I also did not like the organization of a paradigm he used in chapter 6. Sometimes the names in the quadrants did not match up with the descriptions he gave—it was somewhat confusing. I also wasn’t sure I agreed with some of the assertions he made in the descriptions of the paradigm.
- I felt as if the spiritual heart-beat of the book could have been stronger. He did great with this aspect in the last section of the book, but a so-so job in the rest of the book.
- I felt somewhat frustrated by the various indicators he used to help readers discover their identities because they were not sufficiently connected together chapter to chapter. I expected and hoped for a culmination and there really wasn’t any.
Here’s what I did like about The Me I Want to Be:
- His trademark humor is fairly consistent in this book, however, I do not feel it is as funny as those A+ offerings mentioned above.
- I felt challenged to grow closer to God and to take greater faith risks, especially near the end of the book.
- I appreciated his various explorations into discovering our identity through various indicators; how we grow, identifying our desires, identifying our learning style, identifying signature sins, etc. (although, as mentioned above, they were not sufficiently connected)
- I liked some of the strategies he offered for working on problem areas.
- I liked his emphasis on “setting our mind”—changing troubling thought patterns.
- I liked his emphasis on developing accountability and support relationships.
Overall, I feel this is a good read and would recommend reading it because I feel the good far outweighs the bad.