An easy and enjoyable read, with some classic funny moments and great characters: over-enthusiastic Vanessa with her extreme symbolism, the new-age mother who thinks all spirituality is fine as long as incense is involved, the self-worshipping but gorgeous worship leader Kristian.
The book is the diary of a young single Christian social worker, struggling with difficult clients and troubled teenagers, longing to have sex and severely tempted, yet feeling that she ought to settle for the ‘second-best’ of the safe but dull Christian man, trying to change the world for the better but fighting her own mistakes and misconceptions, struggling to cope with the idiosyncrasies and flaws of the others in her church and family, and generally trying to handle life as best she can.
It tackles some of the absurdities of contemporary Christian culture:
the over-keen Christian burying a cross in a non-believer’s garden or saying a ridiculous ‘grace’ before a meal, the banality of some of the lyrics of modern worship songs. But it also tackles real issues that many thoughtful Christians will have faced: why should God answer prayers for rich Westerners when so many in the Third World do not have their prayers answered? What about Christians who use their religion to bully and manipulate? Should a single Christian person settle for marriage with a safe Christian, without that ‘spark’ of love? How does one carry over one’s faith from the excitement and enthusiasm of a Christian conference into the challenges and dullness of every day life? The book looks at these issues and others, raising the questions and hinting at solutions, without being prescriptive or sermonising. It accepts that it is allowable to have these questions without knowing the answers. Of course, being a novel, it has to have a neat and satisfying ending (unlike real life) although there is a good twist that I didn’t see coming.
It’s easy to see Adrian Plass’s influence in this book – it is as funny as ‘The Sacred Diary’, so funny that I can forgive the couple of times where Jeff uses the same story or joke as Adrian. But if you enjoy Adrian Plass then you’ll like this book. I recommend it!