Review: Heart Wide Open
Author: Shellie Rushing Tomlinson
Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
Author Interview: Here!
Books based on religion have always been a mixed blessing. Either they focus on one point and beat it to a lifeless pulp over the course of a hundred pages, or they use their religion of choice to pummel the reader into a hopeless fear that they won’t measure up to God’s purpose.
Despite this, every so often a book comes along that is simply guided by a higher hand than that of the author. One in which it is obvious that the writer is no more than the pen she uses to write on the paper, a simple vessel to bring forth a message.
This is what Heart Wide Open is. It’s an a romp through the mind of God with Tomlinson as your guide, a small glimpse of the divine that pierces the black heart of modern day religion like a well aimed arrow. From this description you would think that Tomlinson’s must be either a high bishop in the Catholic church or a ph.D level theologian with a laundry list of initials after her name, yet this is hardly the case; she’s simply a follower of Jesus Christ.
Does this ruin your buzz? It shouldn’t. After all, considering the fact that Jesus Christ would have never met the authoring credentials of many high level theological texts, why should we be surprised that such a great product would come from a simple southern farm girl?
Tomlinson comes running at us like a child who has just discovered the biggest candy collection of all time and wants to share it with us. It is with such unabashed joy and fervent confidence that as a reader you’re simply left in awe. When you’re done you close the book with a feeling of relief and purpose. It’s as if your doubts and worries are lifted from your shoulders and you simply want to find a closer walk with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Her southern prose is deceptively smart. She shows a keen knowledge of scripture and presents it to us in unsurpassed simplicity. She holds the brilliance of Jesus Christ’s message up to us in terms that makes you see how timeless his story is, and how his message gives hope to us even in a time when the human race seems so desperately confounded that we’ll never find our way out.
If you’ve never come to know God through Jesus Christ, or are a believer who finds themselves in doubt, this is a great book for you. If you are a believer who feels beat down by all the guilt and expectation that modern day religion brings down on you, then this is the greatest book for you.
Bottom Line: Embrace Jesus and let this book reaffirm you. It’s a wonderful read!
– Don Ellisor