Wednesday, January 21, 2009

YOU: A Review

YOU: An Introduction by Michael Jensen

Who am I? What does it mean to be human? Is there any purpose or meaning to life? My friends still grapple with these questions of identity, most notably when they ‘reinvent themselves’ every few years. It’s a question they face every day – studying Blade Runner in high school, deciding who to vote for (and which vision of the future they want), or the advertising world subtlety telling them who they should be (i.e. I drink Coke, not Pepsi) – what does it mean for me to be me? And how do I express this to everyone else. This is especially true of people in their teens and twenties. With so many direct and instantaneous ways of communicating – blogs, Facebook, YouTube, mobile phones – who I decide to be for the next 15 minutes can be conveyed to everyone on my friends list. We spend so much time trying to discover ourselves, and yet have never been more confused about who we are.

YOU: an introduction is a timely answer to these questions about who I am. Developed originally developed by Michael Jensen as a series of blog posts, YOU is engaging and a joy to read. In fact, one of the strengths of YOU is that it has retained the character of a blog. The chapters are brief and to the point, but the writing still feels like a conversation - at the end of each chapter are the comments from the YOU blog and you can read Michael respond to comments from bloggers.

I find YOU to be particularly culturally appropriate for people my age. The images and illustrations Michael draws are the ones me and my friends would be familiar with. Michael quotes a variety of contemporary sources as diverse as Russell Crowe and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers to Wikipedia and tattooing. This does run the risk of hastening the book’s use-by-date. However I actually think that it enhances the book, as it fits the headspace of where the reader is at.

What you get with YOU is the authenticity on the behalf of the author. YOU doesn't pretend to be the last word in anthropology. Nor does it dumb down the sometimes difficult issues. Instead, it faces the big issues head on, and invites the reader to explore what scripture has to say on the matter. The book deals with several issues of what it means to be human, such as life itself, death, gender and more. After laying down the ground work for each topic (what actually is the issue? what are some alternative answers?), Michael concludes each chapter with a snapshot of what scripture has to say on the matter.

I heartily recommend this book. YOU focuses on Jesus, the real humanity. He lived a real, en-fleshed life as the true image of what it means to be human. His death paid for the sin and evil that humanity was both involved in and enslaved to. He rose from the dead as a human and now reigns as the lord of all creation under his Father. This is the God Christians worship – the God we are introduced to in YOU.

YOU is available to purchase from Matthias Media.


mike said...

thanks for the review Matt, hope all is well

tdix said...

Sounds like a good book. And nice post too!