Months ago (years ago?) I purchased and downloaded Kyle Idleman’s “Not a Fan”. For whatever reason, it took the #EmptyShelfChallenge to “pick it up” and start reading. Once I did, I couldn’t stop.
Idleman’s writing is quite funny, while his heart and message are sincere. I had read some negative reviews that claim he’s pushing legalism and works-based salvation, but goodness – I couldn’t find that in what I was reading. In the book, he calls us to examine whether we are “fans” or “followers” of Jesus. We are challenged to look at whether our relationship with Christ has cost us anything, or if we expect to live comfortably and fit Him into our lives where we would like.
It’s challenging. Unsettling. Idleman calls churches out for their propensity to become stadiums where people cheer for Jesus instead of sanctuaries where we worship him. He distinguishes between knowing all about Jesus and truly knowing Him. Asks whether He is our “one and only”, or “one of many”.
There is some criticism of the book that it stops with the gospel, leaving out important stories of grace and lessons from Paul’s letters to the early church about what the rest of our journey will look like. What happens when we slip into seasons where we are more fans than followers. The critics aren’t wrong, but I think they’re making unnecessary claims. The Bible is pretty good at covering all aspects of life but I don’t read other books expecting them to.
For me, “Not a Fan” is a great, convicting call to look at whether we are in a relationship with God that is changing us. I found it really good for that, and an enjoyable read in general. Kyle Idelman seems to be a fun, cool, transparent pastor I can relate to – but one that pulls no punches when it comes to the harder-to-hear messages of the Bible.
Have you read this one? What did you think? Is it on your list?