Thursday, February 11, 2010

Book Review: Bo's Cafe by Thrall, McNichol, and Lynch

Bo's Cafe is a book about second (and third, and fourth) chances and God's unmerited grace to all who long for it. It is a story full of mercy and hope.

The book's central characters are Steven and Andy. Steven is a business man who needs no one and nothing. He has it all (or so it seems). But when the story begins, we see Steven at the end of his rope, unsure of where to turn for the answers to his heart struggles.

This is where Andy comes in. He confronts Steven and begins to help him see himself in all of his arrogance and anger. At first, Steven doesn't want Andy's help. He thinks all he needs is a quick "fix" and all will be well. Little does he know that these types of problems go deep and it takes a lot of time to deal with the issues that lurk beneath the surface. As the book develops, however, we see Steven coming to grips with his sin and turning to the One who can give hope and healing to his life and his marriage.

Bo's Café: A Novel
The authors seem to have a good understanding of what it means to be caught in the hold of sin and what God's grace really looks like. One illustration in the book was most helpful to me. Andy explains the futility of what is called "behaviorism", the idea that a problem can be solved by only working on outward behavior:

"It's like an elaborate game of Whack-a-Mole. Moles pop out of holes, and you whack 'em with a mallet. You score points by how many moles you can whack in a certain amount of time. You're going along just fine for a while, racking up lots of points. But then the game starts speeding up. We think we've 'fixed' a behavior, and four more critters pop out. Eventually we're spending our entire time whacking moles. Therapists put their kids through college teaching us how to hit the little rodents quicker....But no behavioral mallet can hit the shame that triggers the lie that releases the mole."

One more passage that jumped out at me was this:

(Steven) "He (God) doesn't want us to try to fix ourselves?"
(Andy) "Steven, if we actually could fix ourselves, why would Jesus have had to die?"

Although this is a work of fiction, there is lot to be learned from this book. I know I will be thinking about it's content for many days to come.

(Disclaimer: I received this book for review from the publisher. I received no monetary compensation from anyone for this review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.) 

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