A Little Book of Reformed Gems


Little books are like jewel boxes. You open them in the hope of finding tiny treasures of great value, even while you know that you’ll never make an entire outfit from the contents.

And will you find gems in this little book, “Never Settle for Normal,” by Jonathan Parnell? Absolutely. Here’s a sparkling reminder of who you are:

“Just like images [art, for instance] exist to point beyond themselves [to an idea in the mind of their creators], we humans exist to point beyond ourselves, to God.”

And here’s one that explains, in crystalline beauty, how God makes us fit to serve God:

“The Spirit is the One who swallows up our little lives into the grand story of God’s salvation by swallowing up our lives into Jesus himself.”

The brief and sparkling treasures in this volume will inspire any Christian reader. For those who want to understand the contemporary Reformed doctrine of God, Parnell has written an excellent primer. (He trained at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis under John Piper‘s leadership, studied at Bethlehem seminary, and has written extensively as part of the desiringgod.org blogging team.)

Parnell Book
As you must expect from a small book, you are likely to find yourself with questions that he doesn’t have space to explain in full. Those desperately in need of the “proven path to significance and happiness” promised by the subtitle – nonbelievers in particular — are likely to find Parnell too brief and perhaps a bit of an “insider” in his point of view.

So one of the keys to understanding this little book is knowing that Parnell expected his readers would find it incomplete. He refers us to additional little books, written by some of his co-pastors, in the Epilogue.

* I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for reviewing it.

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About Carlene Hill Byron

The former editor of New England Church Life and The New England Christian, Carlene Hill Byron is enjoying being home in Maine after 20 years in North Carolina. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Find her at christianpurposeblog.wordpress.com, churchandmentalillness.wordpress.com and on Facebook at MyHouseHasHistory.
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2 Responses to A Little Book of Reformed Gems

  1. Thanks for the look at this book…the title calls to me, because no one has EVER accused me of being normal.

    I wasn’t the only dude to wear shorts to my PhD graduation, but I was the only one in a Viking helmet…

    • Carlene Hill Byron says:

      Likewise here, although I wreathed my (undergrad) mortarboard with flowers. However, this book is not an encouragement to idiosyncrasy. It simply points out that to belong to Jesus is to belong to someone who is not of this world. To follow God is to follow a rule that is fundamentally outside of this world’s “stupid normal.” Whether eccentrics and outsiders would feel at home among the more ordinary folk in the church Parnell pastors is, to me, a question not addressed in this volume.

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