Tuesday, May 7, 2013

When "Good" is "Bad"

      Spark: Transform Your World, One Small Risk at a Time (Jason Jaggard, WaterBrook Press, 2012) is a book that I agreed to review because the title intrigued me. Much of what Jaggard had to say could be transformational for anyone willing to put forth the effort and follow through, but I found  it hard to follow his thought processes at times: a lot of the content, although interesting, seemed to be more filler than anything else. At times it seemed like I was reading the script for an infomercial for a motivational seminar.  Having said that, there are gems in this book that make the digging well worth the effort.  There are two gems that I found especially useful.

            Jaggard puts forth his case for what he calls “spark groups”: groups of 10 to 15 people who meet weekly for 5 weeks to discuss what kind of risk they can/will make that will do one of two things. Taking the risk is designed to either a) make the individual a better person or b) make the world a better place. As he discusses SPARK groups he makes it clear that there is no curriculum, the intent of these groups is to foster an environment where risk-taking is not only acceptable but encouraged. And it’s important to realize that we can all do something, individually or with the help of friends that will make a difference. But after deciding to take the risk, there has to be some follow through, so the 2nd and following weeks there is some time devoted to discussing the outcome of taking the particular risk.
            The second thing that really stood out is that there is a major difference between ‘being good’ and ‘not being bad’. Using the parable of the talents as told in Matthew 25, Jaggard points out that the man who buried the one talent to keep it safe didn’t really do anything wrong, but in burying the money and hoping that it would be safe, he really didn’t do any good.  If we are truly following Christ, then we can’t just sit back and not smoke, not drink, not cuss, not fool around. We’re called to go and do good, not just not do bad.
            Jaggard has some well thought out ideas, and he shows how they can be implemented in a variety of contexts.
            I received a copy of this book in exchange for writing this review. I was not required to give a positive review.
            Comparing “SPARK” to books I have recently read, I would rate it 4/5. 

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