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Epic: The Story God Is Telling and the Role That Is Yours to Play Hardcover – September 15, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
What if you were a character in the most fantastic tale ever told? Eldredge (Wild at Heart), a counselor, rearranges and condenses themes found in his book Waking the Dead while adding Epic to the growing list of evangelical Christian books that explain human history as a narrative and God as its author. Eldredge tells the story in four parts: Eternal Love (a personal God creating a personal universe); The Entrance of Evil (Satan the villain); The Battle for the Heart (God's calling humans to love him), and The Kingdom Is Restored (God, through Christ, makes all things new). As in past books, Eldredge illuminates scripture using movies (Braveheart, Apollo 13 and The Last of the Mohicans) and literature, including Yeats, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Chronicles of Narnia. The examples work well, with the exception of the character Jack in Titanic; considering that character's seduction of an engaged woman, Eldredge's extensive comparison of his sacrifice to Christ's may rankle some evangelical readers. Eldredge does, however, go out of his way to emphasize hell—a rarity among evangelical writers. This brief primer adds little to what is becoming a shopworn analogy for the Christian message, but it is easily understood and powerful at times, especially when expressing the human longing for a happy ending.
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About the Author
John Eldredge is a counselor, teacher, and the author of numerous bestselling books including Wild at Heart, Epic, and Beautiful Outlaw. He is the director of Ransomed Heart, a ministry restoring masculinity to millions of men worldwide. John loves fly fishing, bow hunting, and great books. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Stasi.
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If you feel like you belong to someone, and to larger community that loves you and wants to hold you up, this short book is wonderful reminder that your feeling is justified, and waiting to be fulfilled. Once you read this book, you'll want to start sharing your story with others to get involved in the larger story-making that we all belong to.
I really enjoyed it, for a couple of reasons. First, the writing style is very engaging. Eldredge knows how to punctuate and present ideas well. He keeps the reader excited about what should be an exciting topic. Second, the book seems to have a number of good uses. For example, it could be given out as a kind of extended tract or evangelism tool (it really does work well in that way). It could also be used as an introduction to biblical theology, as it lays out a very basic framework for understanding the message of the Christian bible. Finally, it could be helpful as an introductory manual to literary criticism from a Christian perspective. Eldredge does a great job putting forth the elements of why human beings enjoy STORIES so much, and connecting those elements to the gospel.
Indeed, if I ever were to teach a literature class at a Christian high school, I would consider using this text as a preface to the course. That way, students would have some framework to refer back to as they read such classics as Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, Macbeth, Paradise Lost, or really any piece of literature.
Perhaps the only fault in the book is its occasional repetitiveness, but that is certainly forgivable given its affinity to an oral presentation.
Note that there is also a live DVD version of the content of the book which students would certainly enjoy (separate purchase required). There is also an epilogue with additional reading suggestions, including the following link: [...]