Book Review: Something Needs To Change

Something Needs To Change:  A Call To Make Your Life Count In A World Of Urgent Need, by David Platt

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Multnomah/Waterbrook Press.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

There is no doubt that much is wrong with this world.  That said, what is to be done about it is by no means an obvious question.  This book has the feel of someone who went to Nepal and Tibet for a couple of weeks and saw the deep spiritual oppression there and felt woke and that he needed to write a book to encourage people to change the world and make it socially just.  The author seems to be under the belief that it is within our power to change the world, and that the world is supposed to be made fair and just through the efforts of human beings.  There are a great many assumptions at the base of this book and the author’s approach that amount to his selective quotation of various verses and those are assumptions that I don’t happen to personally share.  And thus while I may share the author’s horror at child trafficking and the persecution and martyrdom of Christians as well as the terrible state of health for ordinary people in many parts of the world, I don’t happen to agree that it is our job to fix the world here and now.

This book is about two hundred pages long and consists of the author’s travels in the remote areas of the Himalayan mountains to evangelize to people in the area and provide some encouragement to Christians in an area of the world that is rather unfriendly to Christianity over the course of eight days or so.  The author’s experiences, where he tends to paint himself as a naif (it is hard to imagine that he could possibly be as clueless as he frames himself to be) are interlaced with quotes from the author’s diary, questions for the reader, as well as quotations from scripture.  The quotations from the diary are written in a font that makes them harder to read in an attempt at providing some sort of verisimilitude, and the whole book as a whole appears to amount to virtue signalling that makes it appear as if a great many more authors with social justice leanings are going to write books based on their mini-missionary trips, which is admittedly not something I am wholeheartedly enthusiastic about.

If you want to be inspired to help make the world a better place and believe that engaging in social justice right now is something that matches with your post-millennial optimism about the effects of such activism in the contemporary world, this book will likely be up your alley.  There are likely a great many people (myself among them) who have or will spend two or three weeks or so engaging in efforts at helping people around the world, be it teaching useful skills or helping to construct wells or serving at camps or clinics or whatever the case may be.  The author’s tone and approach are likely not to appeal to pietists or others who take a much less radical view about the relationship between Christianity and social change as well as politics, and who have much stricter limits on the sort of expectations they have of the sort of change that can be effected in this world, but this author isn’t writing for such people.  He is writing for (other) radicals who are far more optimistic about the power of believers to effect justice in this world, and that audience is likely to find much appealing here.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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