Adrian Plass
Jesus - Safe, Tender, Extreme
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, US, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0310268994 

Jesus Safe Tender Extreme 

 

"Jesus - Safe, Tender, Extreme features a compelling exploration of what it means to follow Jesus in everyday life...As we sometimes stumble and fall in life’s experiences, Plass speaks of a God who has great love and compassion for all of us."

Rediscovering this book on my shelf I was surprised to find on rereading that it had the same impact as my original reading of it had. I admit to being a fan of Plass’s writing style - a mixture of very honest, personal anecdotes and an exploration of the Bible with a healthy dose of humour. All of these things combine to make this a book you want to keep reading and then are sorry to find you are at the end (which, like me, may lead you to rereading some parts that particularly impacted you!)

The book was written while Plass’s beloved mother-in-law Kathleen was in palliative care in their home. As he says: "The imminence of her departure to the place where we hope that all questions will be answered and all problems solved, has what I can only call a profoundly 'editing' effect on the things that I am thinking and feeling."

Jesus - Safe, Tender, Extreme features a compelling exploration of what it means to follow Jesus in everyday life - Plass shares what the three aspects of Jesus in the title mean to him, at least some of which will relate to almost anyone. As we sometimes stumble and fall in life’s experiences, Plass speaks of a God who has great love and compassion for all of us. This is shown particularly in the chapter, ‘The God Who Defaults to Compassion’, where, among other things, the Book of Jonah is explored with Jonah portrayed as one who experienced the compassion of God.

Plass also addresses the false images we often have of God and Jesus - how do we, by the grace of God, get closer to the real Jesus and thus know the true nature of God? He writes of his, and other people’s, experiences in setting aside ideas of their expectations of God to allow the truth to come in. There's no set formula for doing this provided, but by reading of others' struggles in this area, we can learn much about ourselves and how our image of God can be formed by our life history.

A book well worth reading. John Ortberg wrote the foreword and I think the best way to sum it all up is to quote the last line of his forward: "This is a book for honest, thoughtful people who would like to know Jesus better. It is written by someone who is convinced that Jesus is the only game in town."