Prototype: What Happens When You Discover You’re More Like Jesus Than You Think? by Jonathan Martin
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Tyndale Press in exchange for an honest review.]
This book is a profoundly moving and encouraging book, but also a profoundly sad one for me to read. One of the chapters, talking about “wounds” talked about how godly people are profoundly moved by the wounds and scars that others show. I could not help but be reminded of one of the most momentous times in my own life when the sight of wounds made a profound effect on me, and on the way I thought about the person in question. This is a book written about the way in which the strength of God is shown in weakness, and the way in which God tends to call the broken people as models of His ways to show the world how what is broken can be restored, and how what is damaged and ravaged can be repaired, and how what dies can be resurrected. While some books seem to revel in the brokenness for its own sake , this particular book is more of an encouragement for those who are broken to wrestle with God and to recognize His love and acceptance due to the brokenness of Jesus Christ, our prototype.
This book is organized in a straightforward way, with nine chapters and a moving epilogue to a ravaged bride (namely, the Church). Starting with a look at our identity as believers, and then a look at what the Bible says about us as God’s beloved, the calling and struggles we face in the obscurity of the wilderness, so that we may understand the calling that combines our God-given talents and the needs of the world, facing the wounds we receive in this world, so that we may see the results of the resurrection in our world through the changed lives of redeemed believers. As believers, we share in the sacraments of baptism and the eucharist (or Passover meal, as I would frame it), and form a part of a community of believers that then serves as a witness for a broken world in need of restoration. There is a straightforward flow and organization to this book, and it is well-written with considerable humor and modesty, both about the author and about those in his congregation. It should go without saying that this book is also full of very excellent analysis of relevant biblical passages.
The foreword of this book gives warning that the book itself is both a warning/challenge as well as a comforting/encouraging message, and that is certainly true. The book pulls no punches either about the brokenness suffered by believers (including rape and abuse, which this book deals with thoughtfully and openly) or the way in which believers are supposed to set a godly example in the world more than merely preach at others. Given that this particular book is written from an honest and open perspective, and does not either pretend to originality nor does it wade into dangerous waters, it should find a wide and appreciative audience of readers who are able to appreciate it on its own merits, even if it does feel a bit sad to bring our longings into the light of day, to know that we are not alone in having them, even if a great deal of sadness results from having those simple longings for touch and love and community be so difficult for some of us to find. Sometimes such sadness can be beneficial, if it brings us into a community of likewise childlike people with a love and openness to others, even if it sometimes brings us pain. Let us never allow our hearts to be hardened or shut off to others because of that pain, though.
 See, for example: