book reaction: Soul Cravings

Instead of writing up the more formally sounding book review, I’m going to start blogging my book reactions. I get to peruse many books but rarely finish reading them, b/c I’m not the voluminous reader that Mark Driscoll has been known to be (he read a book a day, for over a year, I’ve heard), and I don’t want to be summarizing a book’s content; the publishers and marketing agents do a fine job at that.

Soul CravingsSoul Cravings is the latest book by Erwin Raphael McManus, pastor of Mosaic LA. Erwin’s perhaps the most effusively passionate creativity artiste kind of a guy around, very much wired for the Los Angeles epicenter. I’ve heard him surprisingly downplaying his enormous gift as a verbal communicator on many occasions, disarmingly and persuasively saying, “I’m just like you.” Ah, the master communicator at work — finding common ground. That’s true to some degree, but not so true, and that I find unfair, or incomplete to say the least. I want to shout back, “You are so NOT like me, I can’t communicate like you!”

That’s the kind of provocatively emotional level that Erwin excels at engaging audiences with, in his speaking and in his books. Soul Cravings has no page numbers. Instead, Soul Cravings has 20-some numbered entries on 3 themes: intimacy, destiny, and meaning. Having heard of Erwin’s core message over the years, this is akin to his reinventive replay of “belong, become, believe” or “love, faith, hope”, though rearranging the order of this interplay on this go around. I love the book for its artistic meanderings around the emotional heart and soul of humankind. I think if I read him right, the underlying notion of this exploration is that our soul’s cravings point to the invisible attributes of God just as much if not more than the creation’s natural beauty (cf. Romans 1:20).

Erwin makes a few self-disclosures in Soul Cravings, and I’ll make one here of myself. I’m aware of my own cravings in life. I find my insatiable craving for intimacy so hungry and lacking that my other supposedly innate desires for destiny or meaning don’t exist. It sure feels like I don’t care about destiny or meaning. So, maybe it’s this: not all 3 cravings are equally compelling for everyone. They’re all there beneath the surface, in the recesses of our soul, and one of them drives us, motivates us, to do what it is that we do, more than the other 2. For me, that’s my quest for intimacy. Of the 3, this is the most elusive one b/c it depends on others.

[disclaimer] I received the comp book from DeChant-Hughes & Associates, a Chicago-based firm specializing in books on religion and spirituality. In the email to me, they said that, “We are always happy to keep bloggers aware of new books if you’d like to be added to our mailing list.” I’m not sure how many bloggers they want to keep happy, so leave a comment below and let’s see if you can get in on their program of comp books for bloggers.

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  1. tony sheng says:

    hi DJ,
    cool reflections. I know what you mean about Erwin saying he is just like the rest of us. Definitely not like me….I haven’t read Soul Cravings yet, but am going to pick it up real soon. Thanks for the post.
    I wouldn’t hearing more about the comp program, but fear I wouldn’t be able to read fast enough… 🙂

  2. steph says:

    hmm, always looking for some good reading/ food for thought. can you let me know how this works? thanks dj.

  3. Lon says:

    thanks for voicing on Erwin’s communication abilities… i’ve heard him say multiple times how he’s just some schmo, but his communication capacity is crazy good…

    i’d like to get in on those books!