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Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity Hardcover – December 22, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 309 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“Mark weaves us through the Great Commandment with insights that are both winsome and wise, piquing both curiosity and conviction. He calls us to a discipleship free of the trappings of shriveled self-concern, drawing us to give ourselves, with abandon, to others as we heed Jesus’ call to love God above all. This book will fuel clarity of call and persevering strength for those who will journey in obedience to the Gospel—in its wholeness of justice, mercy, and faithfulness—for a lifetime.”
GARY HAUGEN, president and CEO of International Justice Mission and author of Good News About Injustice, Terrify No More, and Just Courage
“Too many of us are doing life at an unsustainable pace and losing sight of our first love. In his new book, Primal, Mark Batterson invites you to rediscover the reality of Christ and His passions. This book will challenge you, push you, and stretch you. You will walk away righteously aggravated, but catapulted into action.”
CRAIG GROESCHEL, senior pastor of LifeChurch.tv
“Mark, I’m with you. It’s time for believers to be more. Let’s hear the voice of God and be that holy, passionate fire that we are called to be. It’s the primal way.”
SHAUN ALEXANDER, 2005 NFL MVP, acclaimed speaker, and author of award-winning book Touch Down Alexander

About the Author

The author of Wild Goose Chase and In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C. One church with nine services in five locations, NCC is focused on reaching emerging generations and meets in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the D.C. area. Mark has two Masters degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. He and his wife, Lora, live on Capitol Hill with their three children. www.markbatterson.com

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books; 1 edition (December 22, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601421311
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601421319
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (309 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By George P. Wood VINE VOICE on January 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When asked by a Jewish legal expert to name the most important commandment in the Mosaic Law, Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" (Mark 12:30, cf. Deut. 6:4, 5). Nothing in life is important as amo Dei, the love of God, which is referred to as the Great Commandment. Unfortunately, what Jesus said to the Ephesian church could be said to many Christians today: "You have forsaken your first love" (Rev. 2:4).

Mark Batterson's new book, Primal, is an insightful guide to recovering your first love. If you are a spiritual seeker or a new Christian, this book will outline a simple but powerful vision of what following Christ is supposed to be. If you are a longtime Christian, it will refresh your faith. And if you are a pastor, it will help minister to both categories of parishioners.

Mark is the pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC, as well as a personal friend. If I recommend the book, it is because I can first recommend the man. Mark is a creative thinker and a gifted communicator. The church he leads meets at multiple theaters throughout the Washington DC area, not because he can't find a place for a more permanent building, but because that's where the people are. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezer's, an award-winning coffee house and performance space near Union Station. All profits from Ebenezer's sales go to missions.

Primal is all about living out the Great Commandment and centers on four key practices: "compassion, wonder, curiosity, and energy," which correspond to "heart, mind, soul, and strength" in Mark 12:30.
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Format: Hardcover
Primal Compassion
I'm really good at noticing when something's wrong - especially when it's something wrong with someone else. At times, we all are enamored with pointing out the missteps of others. Yet Mark Batterson, in his new book Primal, cautions that "before confronting what's wrong in our culture, we need to be humble enough, honest enough, and courageous enough to repent of what wrong with us." The problem, he found, is that we're not as compassionate as we ought to be (I think we all can agree with him). The good news is that you can become part of the solution - but the solution "will require more than a face lift". It will require a change of heart. This heart-change in its most primal form is not doing something for God. It's receiving what He's done for you with a heart of gratitude and reflecting it in your life in a way that brings others to Christ.

Primal challenges the reader back to the Scriptural basics:
1. To your first love, primal love
2. To primal curiosity like you had when you first experienced the awesomeness of God
3. To primal creativity that consumes every ounce of your energy every waking moment.

Primal Curiosity
Have you ever been reading along and then began skipping through a familiar passage or chapter that did not necessarily arrest your attention? I do this when I'm rereading a book, even occasionally as I read through Scripture. Why do we do this? Mark Batterson, in his new book Primal, wonders if we are too easily satisfied with our study of Scripture or too easily dissatisfied with Scripture itself. Maybe that's why we're so infrequently astonished.

In Genesis 1, God himself was awed by His own creation. Incredible, isn't it? Mark wrote that God's "primal reaction was wonderment at His own work.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read Mark Batterson's blog for several years, and I reviewed one of his previous books a couple of years ago. When I heard his new book was coming out and his publisher invited me to review it, I looked forward to reading his latest project.

They sent me a review copy (that means I got this free from the publisher) a couple of weeks ago, and I looked forward to finishing my other reading so that I could pick this up.

What I liked about Batterson's Primal:

* The idea is terrific. I read the table of contents and got really excited about what Batterson wanted to do in this book. It's an extended look at the Great Commandment and what it means to love God with all our heart (compassion), soul (wonder), mind (curiosity), and strength (energy).
* The illustrations are great. He draws most of his illustrations, introductions, and stories from social science, brain science, psychology, and history. I don't read a lot of that and loved it (the story about heart transplant research is worth the price of the book).
* Batterson does something that no one else is doing. I like the fact that he's not saying, "Me too" with his writing.

What I didn't like:

* There's not a lot of logic to the book. Reading, especially reading books, involves the left brain-logical development. That means that words follow a certain order and that you make a statement, explain it, defend it, illustrate it, apply it, etc. Batterson doesn't do much of that. He often makes a statement and then follows that with an application or with another statement. I found myself asking, "Why?" a lot, and I found that he didn't explain himself very much. That was frustrating. Batterson writes a lot about right brain/left brain differences.
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