Undressed: Taking Everything Off And Putting On What Matters Most, by Mark Cornelison
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Bostick Communications in exchange for an honest review.]
I must admit that I have not watched The Biggest Loser in several years, but I know quite a few people who will be able to relate to the struggle of seeking to stay fit and lose weight as well as deal with the repercussions of poor body image. That said, this is one sort of book that I enjoy reading, and the type of book I am surprised there are not more of, a memoir of experiences on a reality television show combined with a testimony of faith, written thoughtfully, and designed to remind viewers of the show about his continuing life and behind-the-scenes experiences, as well as providing a more well-rounded picture than the edited clips of a television show generally portray.
This book is exceedingly well-organized, with a lengthy and personal set of acknowledgements (including a special one to the editor) and other introductory material. The first half of the book, six chapters long, contains those things that we are to put off as we seek to live a life reflective of the calling that we have been given. This includes putting off excuses and fear, dealing with stress as well as seeing people as people and not projects. These are common fears and concerns that lead us to distance ourselves from others, and form a lot of the dysfunction and brokenness in our lives that we and others have to wrestle with as we seek to get to know each other and form relationships with those whom God has providentially placed in our lives.
The second part of the book, which contains six chapters that show what we are to put on in Christ, looks at such matters as grace, showing honor to God as well as love for others (the two great commandments, although this book does not contain a great deal of scriptural quotation). In its honest discussion about bad first impressions and prejudgments as well as the sorts of awkward and embarrassing situations that had to be dealt with, especially the issue of feeling isolated being so far from home and family, while creating a new family around the people they were around, there was a lot here that could be readily understood by anyone who knows what it is like to be a stranger anywhere. This book then closes with what amounts to the literary equivalent of an altar call, something which is very common among many books I have seen recently, organized in a slightly different fashion but engaging in roughly the same process as other books .
Even for those for whom the seemingly obligatory appendix altar call is irrelevant, though, this book is a thoughtful examination of how a reality tv show not only helped a minister to lose weight, but it also provided him with some insights on faith, as well as the chance for a new start in serving God and others, as well as showing the author as an understanding father with honest candor about his own weaknesses and struggles along the way. The book’s honest and open approach invites a sympathetic and understanding response from the reader, and hopefully it finds an appreciative and wide audience of those who recognize a shared nature of struggle to fulfill legitimate longings in the right way as we seek to live as a light to the world in light of the grace which God has freely given us.
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