Book Review: The Gospel of Falling Down

When I was given this book, I have to admit, I was a little perplexed. What was that person trying to say?

As I read, though, it began to make sense.  Mark Townsend looks, through the chapters of this book at how, as humans, we fail in understanding God’s message of compassion and unconditional love.

Townsend conceives of this a battle between the little-me (thoughts of our ego) and the Divine-me (our ability to think about the thoughts of our ego) and illustrates, with reference to biblical stories and images of magic tricks, where we might fail by letting our egos win.  There is also a really cool illusion in the book:

Stare at the four dots for thirty seconds. Then look at a white surface.

Particularly striking was Townsend’s commentary on the ‘Prodigal Son’ in which he sees two failing sons. One has failed to fully receive God’s love by trying to go his own way,  the other has failed to receive God’s love by trying to understand God his way, to earn that love. Indeed, simply for Townsend’s re-telling of this story, and for a message of redemption before we ask for forgiveness, this book is worth reading.

There was something about the use of magic tricks to illustrate points that didn’t quite work in book-form. That aside, Townsend’s view on human failure, and how we can overcome it is fresh,  relevant and helpful.

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