Loving 'As Is' People

John Ortberg's Everybody's Normal Till You Get To Know Them explores pursuing the dream of community with imperfect people

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.

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.

For more book reviews, see Christianity Today's archives.

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Loving 'As Is' People
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May 2003

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