I love to read. I’ve set my goal high this year, one a book a week, and I’m on track to meet that goal. I almost always enjoy the book I’ve read (I did pick it, why wouldn’t I.) But rarely do I not only love the book, but also feel jealous that I didn’t get to write the book I’m reading. That is how I felt about Brandon Hatmaker’s new book that released this past Tuesday, A Mile Wide: Trading A Shallow Religion For a Deeper Faith. I wish I had wrote it. It is just so good. God forgive me of my covetousness.
The book is divided into two parts: The Gospel In Us and The Gospel Through Us. Brandon encourages us to take our small view of the gospel and make it bigger. As we grow our view of Christian life we can take that gospel and pour it out with a truer mission, seeking justice for our communities, full of grace and truth.
There is an idea in Brandon’s new book that I’ve been discussing with anyone who will verbally process with me, and that is the idea that discipleship happens during outreach. (I even wrote a whole blog series on it called #servetogrow over the summer.) Brandon illustrates this idea beautifully.
My favorite part of the whole book is in the chapter discussing discipleship called A Deeper Discipleship. Brandon tells about an experience he had volunteering one Tuesday night with an organization called Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF) with his friend Alan Graham. After spending the evening handing out groceries, blankets, and clothing to homeless and working poor families, Alan fills Brandon in on his mission at MLF.
I’ve only given you a piece of the story. You absolutely have to get this book and hear more.
There are other stories that are very touching. When I first picked up the book to read, I found myself quickly in chapter two blinded by tears. Brandon tells a poignant story of his encounter with an Ethiopian woman on his very first flight to Ethiopia. I won’t retell it here, but I will tell you that you will be shocked at the reason for that this woman on Brandon’s flight spontaneously praises the Lord on that airplane.
All of these stories are so stirring to me and you as a reader because it is so evident on the page that these stories are not just cute antidotes to Brandon. You can feel how life-changing these moments were in the writer’s sensitive-to-the-Spirit heart.
This book isn’t just about moving stories. One of the things I love about A Mile Wide is how well thought out it is. Every point has been considered and tested. Every chapter has lists of helpful ways to proceed or recommendations for moving forward. This isn’t a book that ends in head scratching and warm feelings. This is a book that ends with action. Each subject covered has so many layers for every Christian.
I hope I have convinced you how well your time would be spent on reading A Mile Wide. I don’t over exaggerate when I say that you will be affected by this book. Grab a copy and let Brandon lead you deeper into a faith that not only changes you, but leads you to change others.