Reposting this review because the Kindle version of the book is on sale for $4.99 today. (Also Andy Crouch’s excellent Culture Making (one of Bookwi.se’s 2011 Books of the Year) is also $4.99) – And if you have an epub ereader it is even cheaper at CBD ($3.99)
This has been a hard review for me to write. I finished Playing God nearly three weeks ago now, but have been unable to bring myself to write up the review.
This is an important book, whether you agree with the basic thesis or not. Power is part of the order of the world. Some have more power than others, some are given it easily and others struggle with it. Some use their power wisely and others use it to abuse. But we all have power.
Andy Crouch suggests that the highest power is creative power. And the best use of power is creating in a way that empowers others. This is power in God’s image. He created us and through that creation gave us the ability use our own power.
I think those that have a background in sociology or anthropology will see many of the ideas that Crouch is advocating. But this is not a perspective that is talked about much, especially in the Evangelical world that has an uneasy relationship with power. We are more likely to condemn all use of power (and then unreflectively use our own power poorly).
This is one of those universal books that I think all Christians should read. The way we operate in the world matters. At root, this is a book focused on helping the church act rightly. It is a popular level book without many footnotes so I think it is quite approachable.
This is a book that will be one of my top books of the year. And I will definitely be reading it again, maybe even soon.
For a good range of the perspectives on Playing God, you should read James KA Smith’s review of Playing God in his blog at Comment Magazine. John Nugent reviewed the book from a more anabaptist perspective at Englewood Review of Book and James Matichuk reviewed it on Thoughts, Prayers and Songs blog.
IVPress gave me a copy of the hardcover to review. I ended up buying the kindle edition and gave away the hardcover and bought and gave away another kindle version as well.
Related Bookwi.se Book Reviews
- To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World by James Davidson Hunter
- Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling by Andy Crouch