Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them
John Ortberg
Zondervan, 256 pages, $16.99

To read Willow Creek Community Church teaching pastor John Ortberg's upbeat reflections on community is to feel as if you're listening to a friendly sermon series. Ortberg first argues that "everybody's weird," then explores how to pursue the dream of community with imperfect people.

Ortberg emphasizes the need for making community a priority, and heavily peppers his text with anecdotes, Bible-story retellings, quotations, and one-liners. His organization is sometimes confusing (chapters on "Conflict" and "Confrontation" appear in different sections, as do "Inclusion" and "Acceptance"). He concludes with a chapter on heaven as the ultimate community, where "we will all be normal at last."

"Devote yourself to this one task, to loving 'as-is' people," Ortberg writes, "and no matter what else you may not achieve, you will lead a magnificent life."

While it lacks the punch of some of his earlier books (The Life You've Always Wanted), Ortberg's call to community in an age of self-absorbed spirituality is welcome.

Cindy Crosby is a frequent contributor to Publishers Weekly.

Related Elsewhere

Also appearing on our site today:

The Dick Staub Interview: John Ortberg's Freak Show | Churchgoers' attempts to be average are killing them, says the Willow Creek pastor.

Everybody's Normal 'Til You Get to Know Them is available at Christianbook.com.

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