Open, by David Gregory, Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2016, 153 pp, hardcover, ISBN: 978-1496413963
David Gregory’s Open is a delightful, quick read that shares one of the great truths of Christian living in a very accessible way.
When I began reading the book, it had two things working against it. First, I don’t read much fiction. Second, the narrator is a female, Emily, which seemed odd coming from a male author. However, these concerns quickly showed themselves to be frivolous as I was swept up into the narrative.
Emma is a young
lady who has recently broken up with her boyfriend, is frustrated in her career, and feels very alone in life. Upon receiving an anonymous letter in the mail with the cryptic instruction to “go through the nearest open door,” she embarks on a journey in which she has several life-changing conversations with Jesus. These conversations take place in and around various well-known biblical stories as she witnesses events including Jesus’ conversation with the Samaritan woman, the raising of Lazarus, the Last Supper, and the Crucifixion.
The story that Open presents is one of discovery – discovery that the Christian life is not about “doing all the right things,” but about trusting in a person – Jesus. At a pivotal point in the narrative, the protagonist finds a letter Jesus has written to her. It reads, “Take a bit of time to write down the things you need to do when you get back home to work on your spiritual growth.” (76) Emma lists all of the things we are used to seeing in books on spiritual formation: reading the Bible more, more prayer, attending church weekly, etc. Jesus eventually shows her that, while all of these things are good, what she really needs is to put her trust in Him as He uses the storms of her life to shape and guide her.
Open is a very engaging story, full of familiar biblical scenes with their lessons drawn out in unconventional ways as Emma and Jesus interact in their midst. The book’s theology is simple, yet significant, and while some readers might ask for a more complete presentation of the gospel within its pages, that’s not the purpose of the book. The book’s purpose is to show the reader that life is not about a procedure, not about a formula for Christian maturity, but about a Person. It accomplishes this task well, and I recommend it.
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