Sweet and Viola recount a number of subtle ways we substitute penultimate concerns for loving and serving Christ. Church institutions, justice, church doctrines, or any number of other worthy concerns overtake our pursuit of Christ. As I read the book, I was reminded of a lesson I once learned: Even our love of God can become idolatrous. We fall in love with the feeling of being in love with God. What some call the dark night of the soul is sometimes God withdrawing from us in order to make us hungry for him rather than for our attachment to our feelings. Maybe we need a few more dark nights to awaken us from the subtle debilitating attachments we have made to things other than God.
At any rate, Sweet and Leonard do a great job at cutting through the static, calling us back to our first love. If having your comfort zone rattled is not something you think you can stand, then you should probably avoid this book. But if your hunger is for something deeper … something that seems missing from all the activity that we associate with Christian life … Jesus Manifesto can point you in a helpful direction. The deeper thing is not a thing at all. It is Jesus Christ.