REVIEW: Dave Hopwood “Raging Grace”

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I’ll admit: this book took me by surprise. When a book’s title includes the word ‘grace’, and its cover art features a lion of all things, I tend not to expect much more than any other Christian book currently out there. But as I read through some of its content, I couldn’t help but feel that Dave Hopwood and I are cut from very similar cloths as writers. Raging Grace is a collection of around 100 blog posts originally taken from Dave’s website, which aren’t too dissimilar to the sort of things that get posted to this blog. Although Dave might come at things from a more straight-up ‘Christian’ position than I usually do, the way he fuses sound Biblical teaching with humour and pop culture references drew me in in a big way.

Something that stands out when reading Raging Grace is how raw and unrefined Dave’s writing can feel. There’s a distinct lack of big words, and some of the paragraphs don’t flow fully seamlessly. But here’s the thing: Dave isn’t trying to be the best writer who’s ever put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). He’s sharing his sincere thoughts, thrills and frustrations about how we do things in the Church and how we engage with the Bible. If you’ve ever seen Dave speaking, you’ll know there is a certain charm he exudes, and this is very much present in his writing here. It’s almost as if he wrote some of these things down as soon as they came into his head, which isn’t necessarily a bad approach.

It was fairly hard to review Raging Grace, partly because it isn’t exactly a book in the traditional sense. It’s not the kind of thing one could expect to plough through over a long period of time; it’s more an honest sharing of entertaining, relatable and challenging thoughts that can be digested as and when the reader pleases. Dave speaks ultimately out of love for the Church, but with lots of personality, understanding and tongue-in-cheek humour as well – and what this book might lack in polish, it surely makes up for in all those things. If you’re a fan of this blog, I can’t think of a reason not to give Raging Grace at least a shot.

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