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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger review

Publisher's Description:

You are Invited to a Dinner with Jesus of Nazareth

The mysterious envelope arrives on Nick Cominsky’s desk amid a stack of credit card applications and business-related junk mail. Although his seventy-hour workweek has already eaten into his limited family time, Nick can’t pass up the opportunity to see what kind of plot his colleagues have hatched.

The normally confident, cynical Nick soon finds himself thrown off-balance, drawn into an intriguing conversation with a baffling man who appears to be more than comfortable discussing everything from world religions to the existence of heaven and hell. And this man who calls himself Jesus also seems to know a disturbing amount about Nick’s personal life.


"You’re bored, Nick. You were made for more than this. You’re worried about God stealing your fun, but you’ve got it backwards.… There’s no adventure like being joined to the Creator of the universe." He leaned back off the table. "And your first mission would be to let him guide you out of the mess you’re in at work."

As the evening progresses, their conversation touches on life, God, meaning, pain, faith, and doubt–and it seems that having Dinner with a Perfect Stranger may change Nick’s life forever.

My Review:
Gregory explores the tennants of Christianity through a dinner invitation from Jesus himself to an unbeliever that had some of the world's knowledge about Christianity, but was filled with confusion and untrue beliefs. Through the meal the reader is brought along on a discussion of questions that many may have for the real Jesus. Why are the other religions wrong? What makes following you so special? What does it mean to be a Christian? How do "bad things" fit into God's plan? When answers that we are commonly given, for example Jesus is asked, "Why has Christianity been such a mixed bag?" refering to people claiming to follow Christ that have done a lot of good and others who have done a lot of bad, the author attempts to give it a little more depth. Jesus responds that those who did bad were not really Christians. Our guest responsd with,"that seems a little convenient for you". This allows "Jesus" to delve into the heart of the matter.

While this book is definitely evangelical in nature, and at times very simplistic, it does provide a casual setting to open discussions about who Jesus really is and what it truly means to follow him. I don't think it was meant to be an end of the road type book, rather a beginning, a springboard to encourage the reader to seek out deeper answers to the questions that are posed.

The writing is good, the characters aren't very deep, especially Nick Cominsky. The reader is given a very small sliver of his life and personality making it difficult to really connect with him. Jesus comes off less caring than I would have prefered. The whole discussion feels as if the two are discussing a business arrangement rather than a personal life decision. This approach, however, may appeal to those who are more analytical than emotional.

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