Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Book Review: Kris Vallotton's Outrageous Courage
Summary: Tracy grew up with a rough start. Living in her car and trying to make it by on small wage jobs were much of her teenage years until she signed up for the army and found discipline there. When another soldier she meets there shows her the love of Christ though she becomes a follower and is asked to leave the military over her commitment to the faith. Once leaving though she sets out for college to become a doctor and ends up working overseas to help with missions. She witnesses death and life, and how God can work in one's life when they are willing to follow.
Characters: Tracy is the person that this book is based on from real life. Kris and Jason share her life and testimony of what has happened since she has become a follower of Christ. I found the aspects of Tracy working through pain and bad times to help others to be quite inspiring. The problem is the book makes you feel like you have to go to Asia or Africa to accomplish this. While her working in the tough conditions is commendable not everyone is led to go overseas to do what she does. I think the message of her life might have better been directed toward what people can do for others in their day to day lives to show the love of Christ. Then there are also the accounts where Tracy discusses witnessing a woman coming back to life, and how her body has been healed by tuberculosis and how she witnessed other healings on the spot without doctor intervention. I believe those things can happen, but those that it hasn't happened for or doesn't happen for what are you trying to say about them? Like the children that she witnessed the death of. There is no explanation why she thinks she was healed or others were, but others weren't. If a non-Christian was to read this book that is always a huge point for them to make against Christians about evil and horrendous things happening. The problem of pain has been a huge focusing point and yet this book seems to take a step back in explaining the problem of pain. I just felt very frustrated by the lack of complexity with Tracy.
Writing: The writing is very bland and if the book wasn't so short it would be boring. The authors take no time to try to paint Tracy as a real life person, but instead a one dimensional being on paper. There is no dialogue and no play by play of a narrative that really conveys her life as a story. Instead it's like I'm reading a very long summary. I feel like someone submitted the synopsis to the publisher and then they just published it.
Plot: This book would have been a good motivational read up till the end, and then Tracy is let loose on a rant about how you need to be adventurous and living life without any account to what a person's personal circumstances might be. She doesn't particularly encourage you to find ways to live that within the realm of the world you live in, but instead she makes it sound like you need to follow her in the dangerous places she has gone. She was called to where she is for a reason and purpose that is designed for her. The plot seems to build up to this huge rant. You also have accounts where she gets very charismatic, and since that has become so hugely acquainted with one particular denomination it's no secret what she is sort of pressing. We get all her personal accounts of healing, raising the dead, and visions. While I will once again repeat I believe these things possible she seems to make you feel very small if you haven't witnessed these things. The truth is there are a lot of people who have not been healed, raised from the dead, or have had visions. She provides no explanation as to why these things have been given to her, and not a whole lot of others. The book misses the idea of how her individual life was destined to be apart of those miracles God can ordain, but sometimes others are not destined to even if they follow Christ.
Outrageous Courage is bound to encourage some people, but there are plenty of Christian non-fiction out there this year so far that I have found much more inspiring. It's great that Tracy is out there helping people and changing lives though, but not everyone is meant to be in the same position as her and shouldn't feel smaller for it.
Rating 5 of 10.
This book was provided by Chosen publishing in exchange for a review.