REVIEW: Secondhand Jesus

I recently discovered that Amazon gives away a number of books every day, delivered straight to your Kindle. Some I’ve been able to pick up include Francis Chan’s The Forgotten God, Crazy Love, and Erasing Hell. These are not reject books. They are good ones. I actually paid money for a couple of them. Getting them from Amazon for free, well, what can I say? I like “free”.

One of the books I picked up this way was Secondhand Jesus. I had heard of it, but I didn’t know anything about it or its author. But free is free, right? So I grabbed it for my Kindle reader on my phone. (Now, when you see me walking about looking at my phone, you know what I am doing: Either reading a book or playing Wordsmith with Tim.)

Secondhand Jesus was written by Glenn Packiam. He begins by recalling the Thursday he and the rest of the staff at his church learned that their senior pastor, Ted Haggard, had been accused of involvement in drugs and even more as the scandal broke. Packiam moves from this event to discuss our need to have a personal relationship with the God of the Bible, rather than the god of convenience.

The book reminds us that God is God and we are not — that He is holy, separate, sovereign, and not there to serve our whims or ensure we have good parking spaces when we go to the mall. Packiam demonstrates this by giving personal accounts of his own spiritual journey and by retelling biblical stories, making them come to life. He reminds us of God’s holiness by spending time discussing the Ark of the Covenant, specifically the folly of thinking you can “use” it for your purposes. As Packiam unfolds this, he gives the best explanation of the death of Uzzah that I’ve ever heard. Perhaps it’s a common explanation, but it never clicked in my head until I read Chapter 9, Carts.

This book would be a good read for someone who is beginning to realize the shallowness of some Christian media presentations. It would be challenging to read for someone who feels God lives to make our lives pleasant. It would be a healthy read for anyone who wants to or needs to see God more accurately.

I recommend it.