I am intrigued by the titles of books given by authors today. Some let you know exactly what you are getting. Others are less clear, but draw you in closer to discover what the author has tucked inside the covers. Such is the case with Johnnie Moore’s new book, “Dirty God; Jesus in the Trenches”. I was initially skeptical of this book. I had never seen that title before attempting to describe God. I must say that my initial thoughts were off point. Moore has written a book that gives fresh, tough, and honest look at a side of Jesus Christ that we may often overlook. Moore uses the term “dirty”, not in a negative sense as if to say that Jesus is bad, naughty, filthy, or someone to be shunned. Instead, he uses the term “dirty” in a positive to point out that Jesus was willing to involve Himself in the lives of people and that His earthy ministry was full of the “dirty” of the world (lepers, sinners, the lame, prostitutes, and the outcast of Jewish society).
This book is about Jesus getting his hands dirty so that all may know what grace looks like. Moore writes, “This book is about grace. And how grace split time in half and made a broken world a playground again for the goodness and kindness of God.” Grace, as explained by Moore, is mercy and kindness extended to us by God simply because He desires us to have and not because we have earned or deserve it. As he writes about his personal experiences and examples from scripture, Moore demonstrates how grace is a gift, not cheap or easy, and always cost something.
Dirty God is broken into two parts: Getting Grace and Giving Grace. Moore demonstrates the true requirement for getting God’s grace. He writes, “He [Jesus] is the kind of savior who ushers in history’s greatest moment from a feed trough with shepherds on the front row. He’s the odd kind of king who chooses to live his early life among the regular people in a tiny, poor, and insignificant place like Nazareth, rather than the ritzy glamour of Rome or Athens. When he could have sat at tables eating fine food with princes, he chose to ear fish cooked over an open fire, eating with people who used to have leprosy, or beggars, or tax collectors who had been seduced by money – just as the religious leaders had been seduced by their self-righteousness, pride, and lust for power. Jesus is the kind of teacher who loved to throw his pearls of wisdom to the people others thought neither deserved it nor knew what to do with it. Jesus, instead, seemed to think that only people who knew how much they needed the grace of God would truly appreciate receiving it.”
Naturally, once we have been given and received the grace of God, we give it away to others. We do this by acts of compassion, forgiveness, and by understand that all Christians are not at the same place on their spiritual journey. He cites an example of an Amish community extending grace and forgiveness to a man’s family who had murdered members of that same community. Moore writes, “Grace is generous, but it isn’t free. It will always cost you something when you decide to give – whether or not you receive anything in return.”
Moore has written a great book on grace. Much can be learned here. The book is a fairly simple read. He challenges us to contemplate and appreciate the radical and scandalous grace that Jesus extends to us. Moore offers a powerful challenge in closing. He writes, “In a world of a billion Christians, there should never be a moment on the planet when hurting people feel orphaned by God. Jesus is asking us to join him in the trenches.” Dirty God is well worth your time and will cause you to see Jesus Christ in a different and powerful light. A must read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”