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Dinner with a Perfect Stranger: An Invitation Worth Considering Paperback – July 19, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press; Reprint edition (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307730093
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307730091
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (364 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Dinner With a Perfect Stranger, David Gregory relates the story of two men sharing a meal. The point of interest is knowing that one man believes he is Jesus. What will the other man think by the time the evening is through? The conversation begins, as one could imagine, scratching the dry hard surface of skepticism and doubt, but gently and persistently goes deeper and deeper, spiraling in from that starting point until they are eventually talking about the true stuff of life; the career drifting off-track, the marriage experiencing its own kind of strain, the life being lived where the philosophical questions of youth have given way to simply coping with modern day-to-day living.

Gregory's book is a refreshing reminder of what evangelical Christianity is at its very best -- a faith enlivened by the personal relationship between the Creator and the created. In the end, evangelical Christians are focused on who Jesus Christ is, and more specifically, who He is to them. Doctrinal stances, theological conundrums, questions about literal or non-literal Biblical interpretation, these are all beside the point for the certain type of Christian whose central focus is the life and person of Jesus.

In the Narnia series, C.S. Lewis touched on some of the core questions of religion, from the Christian viewpoint (is there a hell? What is heaven like, really? How can other religions be wrong, and just one be right?) Taking his cue from Lewis, Gregory does the same, realizing that questions like these come alive when they're in the context of a story, and we can be the third party, watching with interest while they are put on the table and considered. In the end, Gregory's book succeeds because of his willingness to approach interesting, hard questions like these. He is always, undoubtedly, aiming for the heart, but he realizes that to win the heart one must never forget that the mind has to come along for the ride. --Ed Dobeas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In this didactic inspirational novella, Cincinnati workaholic Nick Cominsky accepts an invitation that he assumes is a gag: to have dinner with Jesus Christ himself. He soon finds out it's no laughing matter, and, despite his doubts and initial misgivings, he engages in a long conversation with the deity (who has jettisoned the long locks and sandals in favor of a Brooks Brothers haircut and blue suit). That conversation constitutes the novella's light plot. As the courses of their elegant Italian meal are delivered, Nick and Jesus discuss the dichotomies of sin and salvation, grace and works, organized religion and personal faith. In his quest to prove why Christianity is superior to other religions, Gregory has Jesus make misleading statements about Hinduism, Buddhism and particularly Islam. These unfair caricatures add to the book's heavy-handed feel, as do strawman arguments for the veracity of the Bible and the resurrection. What's appealing about this book is that its Jesus is refreshingly down-to-earth; he digs good food, draws theological illustrations from Star Trek, and quietly chafes at wearing a necktie. But that can't disguise the fact that Gregory has not written a story so much as a dressed-up and controversial sermon. (July 19)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

The book was an easy read but very thought provoking.
B. Rihner
This book is a quick read and one of those you don't want to put down until you've finished it.
Jean M Jones
I loved the book and the way it answered the most asked questions of faith.
Lewis Apgar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

122 of 126 people found the following review helpful By Eric Wilson on October 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'm a skeptic when it comes to little books that are supposed to pack a big punch. They seem shallow, glib, and over-simplified. Usually.

I read "Dinner with a Perfect Stranger" in one sitting. Yes, it's short; yes, it's simple; but it's also profoundly moving. There are no big surprises--a few little ones--and no hit-you-in-the-gut emotional twists. Instead, the author moves us through this meal with Jesus in such a way that I wanted to kick back and have coffee and dessert too. I wanted to meet Jesus face to face and ask some of my own questions.

The author handles many subjects within his dinner conversation, and he does so with grace and wisdom. Nick Cominsky, our main character, deals with Jesus in sarcastic tones, and Jesus responds in ways that seem downright believable, wise, and funny. I liked this realistic tone of the dialogue. Sure, the author could've gone much deeper into certain issues, but he leads us to the bottom line of Christianity: a personal relationship with Jesus based on faith instead of good works.

If you believe the Bible, this book is a breath of fresh air; if you don't believe, this book may cause you to reconsider things. Either way, it's well done and well worth an hour of your time.
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137 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Logical Paradox VINE VOICE on August 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I received this book from an aunt who has recently "rediscovered" her Christian-self and ever-since has been proselytizing to me, in an effort to convert me I suppose. While her intentions are pure and her motivation is love, I must confess I wasn't exactly excited to hear she had another book for me.

I almost tossed this book to the side, but upon inspecting it further - it looked like a quick read. I skimmed through it a bit, and the premise seemed at once both intriguing and a bit silly. But after thumbing through some pages and finding enough food for thought to at least catch my interest for an afternoon I actually ended up reading it in one sitting.

I was pleasantly surprised with what I found. The book is told from in a first person narrative form, as an average modern man receives a dinner invitation from Jesus. He thinks it is a practical joke, or a ploy from a local church - but later finds it is the real deal.

As another reviewer noted this book is really not much more than a sermon disguised as a story, but as sermons go this one was enjoyable, and thought provoking. I'm an agnostic myself, so I never claim allegiance to, nor deny any religion in particular. I found the view of Christianity portrayed in this book to be much less harsh than I expected. Very little in the way of guilt, god-fearing, bible-beating or any of that evangelical non-sense. In fact there's no fire and brimstone at all. While the book does present a clear-cut view, and certainly positions it's own view of Christianity as THE truth, it's more centered around the true values of the religion of Love, Trust in God, and God's compassion and love for us all, rather than focusing on the evils of sin and using guilt and fear.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on August 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The invitation came to him at the office. Perfect in every respect from the Crane stationery it was embossed on to the choice of place-an upscale Italian restaurant. Only one problem, the invitation is from Jesus. It has to be some sort of joke. If it is, it's an expensive one.

Nick Cominsky is a 30-something strategic planner with a lovely wife, Mattie, and a toddler daughter, Sara. Life should be great, but it's not. His 60-70 hour workweeks have stressed his relationship with Mattie. And there are things going on at work that just aren't right, but Nick feels powerless to do anything about it.

So Nick spends the next three weeks thinking about the invitation, wondering who sent it, and saying nothing to anyone. And on the day of the dinner invitation he goes-more out of curiosity than anything else. And he meets a man his age in a blue suit who answers to the name Jesus and claims to have been born in Bethlehem.

For the next several hours Nick has more than a meal. He throws up every objection he has to organized religion in any form-and gets no argument from Jesus. Instead he gets answers to all the things that have caused him pain and grief in his life. That includes what he can do to heal his marriage and most of all what it means to have a way to God, rather than a path-and why the difference is so important. And he learns who put his dinner guest up to sending him the invitation in the first place.

For the reader who has had more questions than answers about God-this book is for you. For the reader who has found God, but doesn't know how to answer the question-"Why should there be only one way?"-this book is for you. And to readers who want their walk to match their talk-this book is for you. I highly recommend it.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book becuase of two things (1) it sounded interesting and (2) having been a little out of sorts with my faith I was hoping it would help awaken my desires for Christ. well it didn't fail on both levels, this book is maybe the best way to present the Gospal story to anyone who is curious about Jesus, or God and that is dabbling in what is called "Vending Machine Spirituality" which is being spiritual when it best fits a personal agenda. David Gregorie's story of Nick meeting Jesus for dinner and having a dinner conversation and getting to ask and test Jesus about the hard questions is brilliant and is in line with true Christian and Biblical Doctrine, unlike the best selling Conversations with God series by new age Author Neal Donald Walsch.(be afraid very afraid)

This book also serves as a return to the truth book for someone who maybe has lost their way (as I was!) in the sense that it reintroduces the main fact of christianity that god loves and never leaves us and has our best at heart in all things ( even those that we can't seem to understand)

This is an easy read as i was able to put finish in just over an hour but it will serve as a book that you will refer to again and again. makes a great gift for that someone in your life that either needs to know God for the first time or needs to be re-introduced to him in a whole new way.
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More About the Author

David Gregory is the author of Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and The Last Christian, among other fiction books. He has masters degress from Dallas Theological Seminary and the University of North Texas. He served as a writer and editor for Insight for Living and Exchanged Life Ministries Texas before writing on his own full-time. David lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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