Thursday, March 2, 2017

Book Review: Jim Henderson and Matt Casper's Saving Casper

This book is intended for Christians, and mostly Christians who are baffled by how to act and talk around those who are nonbelievers. The niche is small for the book, but I'm also sure that Jim and Matt hope that others will become curious enough to pick up the book just to see where the conversation leads between the two. If you're familiar with Jim and Matt then you also known they have done another book together where they traveled across the U.S. and visited churches together to see how Matt as an atheist would perceive the churches they went to. Now with this book they follow up with his own thoughts of how he perceives Christians in general.

Summary: Matt Casper is an atheist, or currently an atheist he says. He has became friends with Jim Henderson who is currently a Christian as he calls it. Jim hopes that by getting Matt acquainted with the Christian community that maybe the perceptions about atheist and how we approach them can be changed to be more open and learn to treat people as people because if there is something missing from the approach of Christians witnessing to nonbelievers it's that they seem to treat them more like projects than people.

Characters: Jim Henderson doesn't really contribute much to the book, and really becomes an obsolete personality. He sits back and almost seems more like a talk show host as he poses the questions and understanding toward Casper's answers. I feel like Jim is just there to give the Christian audience a reason to get invested in the book because most Christians might not pick it up if solely the atheist was the one presenting the views. Jim doesn't give any even balance to the conversation. Matt Casper goes by Casper in the book. I guess using his last name is more catchy than say Saving Matt. I felt that Casper's contribution was great, and I enjoyed how thoughtful and emotional his responses were. He becomes a real person. Matt also does provide what many might be looking for in this book, which is a way to connect with people who don't always have the same beliefs as you. He doesn't guarantee it will work with everyone, but with how most people work it's a good start.

Writing: The whole book takes place in dialogue style. One part has a name written before the paragraph or more begin on what they have to say. It reads as an interview. If you aren't into typical books are prefer something a bit more interview style driven then this is the perfect place to go. It's a very short read with only around 140 something pages as well. It also does use a lot of intellect in the approach and explains itself well through the writing.

Plot: This book isn't necessarily a story that grows with certain parts of a story, but each chapter does present an idea on how the two have affected each other, how people have affected them, and how they have affected other people. I will say that while I get the ideas presented and don't necessarily disagree I also believe that Jim does present some views that could highly be misconstrued. Such as his ideas to make a religion based on getting to know people as people, which isn't wrong, but definitely reads questionably, or his usage of saying he is currently Christian. I get the point of saying he is currently Christian because anyone who has been alive a certain amount of time knows that our beliefs change, even within in the same faith, or can change completely. I never go around saying I'm currently this though. I do believe in Christ. It's what I profess and constantly fight to do. The one woman I did relate to in this book was Casper's mom, who became Catholic, but told her son she was always battling being an atheist. I have felt much in that same boat in my life before. I haven't ever not followed Christ, but I've certainly struggled in my doubts.

Saving Casper is a book that presents some strong stuff for those of us really wanting to relate better to people from other walks of life. I don't think this will change people already set in their ways of wanting to tell people they are going to hell, but it at least gives us that want a better conversation a better example of that. The book does bring up a wonderful point that has often crossed my mind as well though, and that is how easy it is for Christians to tell people they are going to hell. The worst, most awful thing I think I could imagine saying to someone and using as an insult is to say they are going to hell. I would hope for Christians who truly understand it's existence that it would be so painful to imagine you couldn't say it so easily, much less say it at all.

Rating 7.5 of 10.

This book was provided by Tyndale Publishers in exchange for a review.

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