UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: Rad Lad Livin
Rad Lad Livin Rad Lad Livin
Sort Your Walk

Mark Bowness
ISBN 9781842911730 (1842911732)
Kingsway, 2004

Category: Youth Work and Ministry

Status: Out of Print
Secondhand copies may be available through Amazon Marketplace Sellers

Jesus wept. Wept over me as a lad, and this is the book I could have done with back in my lad daze. Days spent in a daze: you know how it is — if you're not there now, you were once or you will be, hormones everywhere, discovering cider, Guinness and girls but still tryin' to follow Jesus because you know he's the one.

Bowness writes in an easy-going lad style banter: no messin' dude - sort your life! Some will find this annoying, even irritating — but they're not the ones this book is aimed at. But for those who are, it's a Godsend, tackling real issues in straight talking terms, no holds barred. Which makes this a powerful book: Bowness is issuing a powerful call to radical living for Jesus. Call it discipleship or the pursuit of holiness if you prefer, but Bowness' phrase Rad Lad Livin is what it's about.

The first chapter sets the scene: Not guilty! Sometimes being a Christian seems like going on an endless guilt trip: everything's a sin. Forget that, says Bowness: God's forgotten your past already, Jesus died for it all, so let it go and head into the future.

Each chapter after that looks at the issues that give us the guilt trips and wipes the floor with them: sexuality, smoking, socks. OK, maybe not socks specifically, but personal hygiene. Alcohol, porn, language, image, respect, truth. Every issue gets raised and levelled off against the Bible, mostly quoting from The Message version.

But Bowness isn't just spouting holy, holy, holy like the angels. He's been there himself and talks honestly about his own experiences and struggles. "There are no quick answers," he says, page 15: "This book isn't about answers; it's about ideas and themes that will push you into God to figure out what he has for your life." Which makes this as much a workshop as a book: each chapter ends with a "Sort it out" section, asking questions and making suggestions; a "Big Bruva" section to encourage you to talk the issues through with an older bloke who you respect; and to round things off, a "Respect to Rad Lad" section, where other lads talk about their own rad experiences: you are not alone.

You may not agree with everything Bowness says, but if you're a lad lookin' to follow Jesus, do yourself a favour and read this book. It's not about religion, it's about livin' life to the max: get the book and get sorted.

Phil Groom, August 2004

Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.


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