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Book Review: Primal by Mark Batterson

I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of Mark Batterson‘s new book, Primal, as part of it’s book blog tour. Unfortunately, I live in Canada so I did not receive the book until the end of the official time for the blog tour, which was the beginning of Christmas craziness for me. Well, I’ve finally finished the book.

Primal comes on the heels of Mark Batterson’s books In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day and Wild Goose Chase. The back cover of Primal asks this question,

“What would your Christianity look like if it was stripped down to the simplest, rawest, purest faith possible?”

Batterson’s answer is the Great Commandment as stated by Jesus in Mark 12:30, “And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” The book is broken into four sections taking a look at:

  • The Heart of Christianity – Compassion
  • The Soul of Christianity – Wonder
  • The Mind of Christianity – Curiosity
  • The Strength of Christianity – Energy

As I read the book, I found myself agreeing with Batterson on each of his major points concerning being recaptured by compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy in loving God. I found, though, that compared to Wild Goose Chase, which I thoroughly enjoyed and thought was very well written Primal was a bit of a disappointment. I found the writing to be choppy and had the feeling of being rushed. This book did not flow as well as Wild Goose Chase did from chapter to chapter and section to section.

I am also curious as to why Batterson left out the second half of the Great Commandment, which is “equally important:”

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

It seemed like Batterson tried to shoehorn that into the compassion part of loving God, but I was still left with a sense of an incomplete exploration of Primal Christianity. I found Scot McKnight‘s Jesus Creed to be a more cohesive and better written exploration of the Greatest Commandment.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I don’t think Primal was a bad book. I think that many people will gain a better understanding of what it means to love God with one’s heart, soul, mind and strength after reading Primal. I also would recommend it as one book to read in 2010. I just think that this was not some of Batterson’s best writing. Wild Goose Chase was much better.

  • Did you read the book? What were your thoughts? Do you think I’m off my rocker? Let us know what you think.
  • Also, do you agree that the Great Commandment is Christianity at its most primal? How do we teach kids and families with that in mind?

If you are interested in obtaining a free copy of Primal, I do have a copy to give away here on Elemental Children’s Ministry. The first person to tell me who is the author of this quote from the book will win: “A mind streched by a new idea never returns to its original shape.” Leave your answer in the comments.


9 Responses to “Book Review: Primal by Mark Batterson”

  1. jonathan January 3, 2010 at 2:17 am #

    Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr

    • Henry Zonio January 3, 2010 at 4:43 am #

      You are correct, sir! I'll send you an email to get your snail mail addy from you and get that book in the mail this week!

  2. car-reviews.ru January 2, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    How much money do you make selling your prints of art work?

  3. Sunnie Miller January 3, 2010 at 4:07 am #

    Great Oliver Wendell Holmes quote.

  4. James Giroxu January 3, 2010 at 4:31 am #

    google says it's oliver wendell holmes. this seems to me like it could be a cool sermon series title. even if it does drift away from the book's content.

  5. Henry Zonio January 3, 2010 at 4:45 am #

    Thx for trying Sunnie and James, but Jonathan was just a bit quicker than you :( Maybe next time.

  6. @jonsothin January 3, 2010 at 2:13 am #

    that quote is from Emerson!

  7. Barbara Graves January 7, 2010 at 10:47 pm #

    I agree, Wild Goose Chase was better! I liked Primal though. I think it is a topic that a lot of adults have a difficult time grasping. I am working on a series next month for Momentum Kids to try and teach one aspect of loving God each week, since Feb is the “month of love”! Primal prompted that series. If it goes well, I’ll post the notes!

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