Now that we’ve made it through the holidays and into the new year, I’m catching up on book reviews! I have a stack of books to share with y’all. I’ll start with City on Our Knees.
I’ve been a TobyMac fan ever since the DC Talk days. I enjoy his music and admire him as a person also. So, I was glad to review his new book, City on Our Knees.
The book is named after his recent hit single, City On Our Knees. The city, of course, represents Augustine’s “City of God“, which he wrote about in his famous work by the same name. In response to the criticism that Christianity had been the cause of Rome’s collapse, Augustine argued that immorality and corruption led to Rome’s demise. He explained this using two metaphorical cities, the city of man and the city of God. All the world is defined, in essence, by the laws and culture of these two cities. He wrote, “These two cities were made by two loves: the earthly city by the love of self unto the contempt of God, and the heavenly city by the love of God unto the contempt of self.” Both the City on Our Knees book and song are based on Augustine’s metaphor.
The book is divided into four sections, each corresponding to a lyric from the song. Each one opens with a two-page spread of inspiring quotes and another with TobyMac’s introduction and thoughts. Within each section are inspiring stories of people coming together, crossing all lines and boundaries, for the united purpose of establishing God’s goodness on the earth for all humanity. These stories span history from ancient times to current, covering a wide range of well known historical figures and ordinary, everyday people. From a little girl and her lemonade stand to St. Patrick, John Wesley, and Charles Spurgeon; from the Church Under the Bridge in Waco, Texas and relief workers in Haiti to William Wilberforce, the stories TobyMac has picked encourage and inspire. His heart and passion really come through as he tells each one. At the end of each section is the “One-Minute Remix”, which is basically a summary of that section, followed by a prayer.
The flashy colors and catchy layout will especially appeal to teens and young adults, but this is great reading material for all. If you read and enjoyed Jesus Freaks by DC Talk you’ll enjoy this one also. Reading aloud through these stories and discussing them would be a great idea for youth leaders or parents. I plan to read through the book with my kids in the near future. My one minor complaint is that the slick, shiny dust-jacket, although really cool looking, was super annoying. I took it off and haven’t put it back on.
All in all, this was a quick, inspiring read that I’d recommend to anyone, though I think it will be particularly useful and motivating with high school and college age young adults.
Thanks so much to Bethany House for sending me a review copy! All opinions expressed are my own.