Review of “Prototype” by Jonathan Martin

22 Feb

Contrary to popular belief, Charlotte is big enough for both Jonathan Martin and myself. I am not speaking of our egos or personalities—I’m talking about our literal size. Jonathan is 6’6 and I’m 6’4; meaning, when we walk into a restaurant people stare. Height isn’t the only thing we share in common. We are both the sons of Pentecostal preachers. We both share a love of NBA basketball and the culture surrounding it. We both like hip hop. Despite the misgivings of the Pentecostal church, we still are a part of the movement. We both are academic. In other words we would certainly be paired in a “eHarmony compatibility test.”

Jonathan has become an older brother figure for me. He’s a little older, a little taller, and a lot wiser. Because we share a city, we make it a point to get together as often as possible to hang out. It was at one of these meetings that he gave me a copy of his upcoming book, Prototype. So for the next couple paragraphs allow me to brag on my big brother.

The book is genuine. There is not an ounce of pretentiousness in it. Jonathan’s openness and vulnerability is refreshing. He offers his own story as a gift and this is not the kind of thing you expect from a “big shot” pastor. The tenderness with which he writes gives me hope that I don’t have to be anything other than myself. Even in (especially in!) my obscurity and woundedness, Jesus is there.

The book is bold. He takes direct aim at the false images we carefully craft for ourselves. The reality of our belovedness as our only identity permeates the book. He quotes Jay-Z and Herbert McCabe. Bruce Springstein and Annie Dillard. Dr. Suess and Soren Kierkegaard. Bono and Henri Nouwen. Perhaps this is how he got Stanley Hauerwas and John P. Kee to endorse the same book.

The book is lived. The pages are not the abstractions of an academic. Rather, the book comes packed with stories out of a messy community in Charlotte. There is no PR for Jesus or ministry here. The book bears witness to what God is doing in the life of Jonathan and Renovatus. It is a “ground level” experience that allows the reader to live with the tension that marks any genuine pursuit of God.

The book is uniquely Jonathan. I joked with my pastor last week that the book could really be titled “Jonathan Martin: the memoir of a giant pastor.” This book is a peek into the heart of a wonderful human being and I recommend it with the highest degree of enthusiasm.

(Buy the hard copy of this book because you’re going to want to pass it along to the people that matter to you.)

Pre-order here.


One Response to “Review of “Prototype” by Jonathan Martin”

  1. cjoelharrison February 23, 2013 at 8:30 am #

    wheres the link for the hard copy?

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