Book Review: Real

“If Sunday didn’t exist, would anyone know I was a follower of Jesus?”

cover33855-mediumHave you ever asked yourself that question? I hadn’t, not with those exact words, until I read Jamie Synder’s book, Real. Published by Bethany House, Real reads in the same vein of David Platt’s Radical and Kyle Idleman’s Not A Fan. It flows well, keeps you wanting to read and learn and grow in Christ.

The more I write, the more it seems like the other shoe is going to drop. It seems like there will be a “but…”

But, there’s not. It’s a solid, fundamentally sound book that doesn’t knock it completely out of the park, but slides head first into third for a triple. It’s a good book. A very good book.

However, it may take some time to grow on you. Take it in slowly, like 18 holes on a Tuesday at 10:30. Don’t get in a hurry to finish. Don’t rush to the next chapter. Read it and let it soak in.

Snyder had already won me over by the time that he told how he began to recover from the Simon complex, but if he hadn’t he definitely would have here. Taken from a passage in Luke 7, Snyder gives a name to a complex that affects Christians around the world. It is a Pharisaic state of mind that creates boundaries and judges others without knowing their back story or motivations. Snyder presents the complex and then confesses of having suffered from it.

I wasn’t ready to hear about his recovery. When I read the accompanying story of his recovery from the Simon complex, I shut my computer, bowed my head and asked for forgiveness. I asked for the Lord to cure me of this same complex.


One of the treatments for the Simon complex that Snyder details in Real is, “…to be willing to intentionally stretch the boundaries of God’s grace in practical ways.” For our author, it meant showing the love of Christ to someone very different than him, an Iranian Muslim abortion doctor.

It wasn’t about judgment. It wasn’t about doctrine. It wasn’t about condemnation of sin.

It was about stretching boundaries with love, and it made an impressive impact on me.

Real isn’t full of religious jargon or clichés. It isn’t written in pastor-speak. It’s real. It tells you that, “…following Jesus is simple, but it is certainly not easy.” It reminds us that “Some pretend to have courage, some actually do.”

It provokes its readers to shun the Sunday-centric church culture and live their lives as if every day were Sunday. It doesn’t cut corners. It hits the mark with its authenticity and honesty.

Snyder didn’t write a book to sell one. He wrote a book because he had something to say. It’s not perfect, but it is genuine, and that’s why you should take a look at it. Here’s the trailer if you’re not convinced, yet.

As always a special thanks goes out to Bethany House Publishers for providing me a free digital copy of this book in exchange for this review.

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