Transformed: Challenging Myths About The Power-Filled Life, by Christy Wimber
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Book Tours. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Reading about the power of the Holy Spirit from people who appear to come from a Charismatic or Evangelical background is by no means something new or unfamiliar to me . This book was not what I expected it to be, though. I expected this book to be a fairly triumphalist discussion of the Holy Spirit and the transformative role it has within believers. That would have been an obvious direction to go, but this book was more questioning and that made it far more enjoyable of a read, I must admit. Instead of being an arrogant post about spiritual power for believers, the author pointed to ways that churches need to become transformed by the spirit to be more compassionate to brethren struggling with mental illness and better accepting and encouraging of gifts given to women. This is a message I can get behind, and so despite the fact that I initially looked at this book with a certain sense of caution, this was a book that I greatly enjoyed and appreciated, and one where I felt that I saw beneath the mask of the writer and saw her wrestling with her own humanity and that of other believers in a gracious way.
The roughly two hundred pages of this book are divided into nine chapters that deal with the sort of struggles that believers have to wrestle with individually and as a group. The author opens by discussing themes of sacrifice and suffering, and examines what Jesus we said yes to–was this a commitment that was well thought out or a vow made at a period of an emotional high without determination. After that the author examines the issue of mercy, the fact that worship is not merely an activity for a few hours on the weekend but rather continual, that transformation is a journey and not a destination, that our minds need to be renewed, what sort of identity we have as believers, what grace looks like to contemporary believers, and how we find the will of God in our lives. Throughout the book was a whole, the author is real about her own struggles and her desire to follow God with gifts that she perceives in the face of societal and institutional difficulties. This is a book that feels real and authentic and likely will win a lot of goodwill for readers in light of that.
To be sure, not everyone will feel as fondly about this book as I do. Readers, for example, that abhor the thought of women in positions of leadership and speaking will find much to criticize about the author’s public role. Readers that are looking for an account that is more cheerful and optimistic will likely found this book a bit on the grim and depressing side. Not all believers, after all, want to focus on believers and their struggles with mental health and patterns of societal and generational failure. Some people just want cheers of encouragement and visions of happiness, and this book offers a far more realistic tone than some people will appreciate. Of course, the author comes from a perspective of having wrestled with a lot of grief in her own life, and even coming to terms with the fact that Christian leaders are imperfect human beings and can neither be put on a pedestal or condemned for their human failings. God is gracious to all of us, even people in positions of leadership and authority who manage to screw it up, and that is something many of us need to be reminded of.
 See, for example: