Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Review: Outlaw Christian by Jacqueline A. Bussie

I have a lot of thoughts and opinions on this subject and I’m having trouble writing about it without going a little overboard. Bear with me!

The older I get, the more I believe that faith is as unique as the person feeling it. My faith is very different from the faith of someone who has battled cancer, buried their child, overcome (or not) substance abuse problem, filed bankruptcy and started over. My faith is very different from the faith of someone who has witnessed a tragedy or taken a life or hugged orphans overseas.

I was interested when I started to read the synopses of Outlaw Christian because it seemed like Jacqueline A Bussie had the same view.

She uses the term outlaw to describe a Christian who doesn’t follow perfect cookie-cutter rules within their faith. She talks about things in this book I was once in no place to hear or understand, but now am. Being angry with God, for instance. It’s easy to gasp and cluck at the idea, but I bet it’s a whole lot more understandable when you’ve been through something so horrendous and keep hearing the same old clichés.

I’m struggling to review this book because I had conflicting feelings about it. Some passages really struck me and I completely greed. Others still bothered me a little. Anger at God, for instance, was a difficult one for me to read. I spent about a year very angry with God not too long ago and I feel awful about that now because it was really displaced anger. I had a right to be angry, but I don’t think with God.

There is a lot of suffering in this world and there are a lot of terrible things, things which I do of course have a lot of questions about. I don’t personally believe that every tragedy is “for a reason we just can’t see yet.” Miscarriage, for example… I will never believe that miscarriage is orchestrated by God, that He intentionally gives a woman a child to be excited about only to take that same baby away “for reasons we don’t know yet.” I think it’s just an unfortunate thing that breaks God’s heart too.

I’ve met people who lost a child and gave up their faith, but I’ve also met people who lost a child and lean more heavily into God than they ever had before. Some people volunteer in the poorest slums of the world and feel sick over a God who allows this kind of life, and others take the same trip and draw close to Him, suddenly feel his providential blessings and understand their purpose in this life is to go back and help those in need.

Again, I think faith is as unique as a fingerprint.

Bottom line, I think Outlaw Christian is a great read… but I think you have to be in the right place to be able to read it. Once upon a time this book would have offended me so I guess I’d say keep that in mind if you decide to look into it!

Favorite quote: “The point of all this is, God is a real friend, not a Facebook friend. God is interested in way more than your smiley, sunny pictures of your kids at their soccer game and your dog in his Santa hat, or for that matter your rant-post about the long line at Starbucks this morning. God wants the whole you. God wants a real conversation, not just a 140-character tweet or status update. God wants to sit with you, even if sometimes you just have to throw it all up. God wants to know everything that is really going on with you, all of your deepest thoughts and fears and idiosyncrasies and worries.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. I'm going to check this out.

    Side note: I think a lot of times being "offended" or feeling uncomfortable with this stuff is God tugging at our gut to tell us " need to pay special attention to this".

  2. I don't discount the genuineness of her personal experience. Reading this book I could see that 1/ Bussie is not a competent biblical exegete 2/ the book is too wordy 3/ following Christ is, by default, a radical way of life and so on.

    1. Did it make you want to listen in on one of her classes? I felt like there were certain passages that might have read one way but sounded completely different in her classroom, hearing her voice and tone changes. It makes me very curious.


Thanks so much for your comments! I always read them, don't always have time to answer quickly. Sorry about that!