Chazown by Craig Groeschel is a difficult book to review in some respects. The book itself contains 75 short chapters, each lasting about two to three pages. He covers material as diverse as money issues to health, all in an attempt to answer one simple question: Do you know what your vision is?
The reason for the difficulty in reviewing Groeschel's book is that it feels as if Groeschel attempts to cover too much ground in too short of space. Many times the reader is left wanting so much more and so much more could be said. Instead, some of the chapters come across as superficial and weak. A good example of this is seen his chapters on one's relationship with God. They cover a mere 12 pages. Yet is this not logically the most important area in one's life? Is this not the most essential aspect of finding vision for one's life?
Groeschel's interpretation of particular passages is also suspect. For example, in his chapters "The Accidental Disciple" and "What's Your Temperature" Groeschel adopts a rather dubious interpretation of Revelation 3:15-16 by insisting that the passage refers to Christians being hot for Christ or cold to Christ. Virtually every major commentator on Revelation acknowledges that this is what the passage is NOT saying. However, Groeschel builds two entire chapters around his interpretation of this text.
However, Groeschel's book also succeeds in connecting with the reader. His examples and stories are both memorable and encouraging. There were many times throughout the book where I was encouraged to pursue a life of greater vision. Also, Groeschel's common line that "many people will end up somewhere, but few will end up somewhere on purpose", is a valid point that encourages intentional living.
In the end, however, Groeschel's book fails to do something very important: magnify God. It is an almost exclusively man-driven theology. While encouraging at points, it is also very shallow. Christianity is in crisis in the 21st century. Rampant shallowness has devastated the church and left her without a voice within the culture. Groeschel's book fails to provide anything of substance and, inevitably, will fail to really produce Christians that will impact the culture as well.
Thanks to Multnomah Publishing for providing a review copy of this book.