There is much to love here! Real, raw, and righteous, Jamie is an awesome example of living the Christian life as a person figuring out this Jesus-thing. My church has a motto, “love people where they are and help them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.” That’s what Jamie gives us, the ability to love people where they are and help them grow. She starts with herself, and her own story and Jesus trek, then brings us into the bigger picture of examining what the church is doing in communities and in missions. She ponders the question, “Have Christians become Pharisees?” Her tale is a wild ride that leaves you reeling but also meditative. She gives us soul-searching questions regarding what it means to help our fellow man, and how we impact those around us and in our world. How we love our “neighbors.”
Thankfully, I hear the editor’s saving suggestions manifest in her writing when she goes all flat-jammy on someone, then walks it back. Which is necessary for memoir writing, especially for a Christian writer. It’s almost as if you get to the point where you’re like, “gal, please don’t go there”…”oh, yeah, you went there”…and, “oh, okay now you’re walking it back.” Writers must remember that they have a voice, but the people they write about do not. The supporting characters, as it were, lack a public platform that the writer enjoys. It’s teetering on a tightrope to talk about someone else’s foibles and not come across judgmental. Jamie handles it well and I think she’s had some great advice on how to do that.
One of the things I must caution any reader is that Jamie swears constantly. Like, all the time. She doesn’t quite get why people don’t swear. It’s not about being a “good Christian,” it’s about being mature and taking the time and effort to explore the richness of the English language. She’s on her path, as we all are, and she might get there, or she might decide that swearing is her identity. I’m not going to judge, except from what I read of scripture it’s not pleasing to God. Do I swear? Yeah, press a hot cookie sheet against my hand and I’ll go all navy midshipman. Do I use it in my everyday language? No, it’s not necessary. I can make a point with other words, and frankly have a bigger impact.
Overall, I loved this book. It’s real and it’s honest. Jamie has great points to make about what the church is doing, and I’m like, “right on, sistah!” I hope she writes a sequel. There’s more life to be lived!