Shine: Make Them Wonder What You've Got marks the literary debut of Christian Music favorite, Newsboys. And if you can look past the gimmicky cover (it glows in the dark -- it's called Shine, get it?) and the hard-to-read burgandy-colored text, you'll find a remarkably well-written, nicely-balanced book about living the Christian life to its fullest extent.
Aside from the personal stories from the band (which are quite honest and revealing), there's not much in Shine that hasn't been said before. What makes it worthwhile is how the message is presented as the natural outgrowth of the lives of these five legendary members of the Christian Music fold. Having lived out their faith before so many, for so long, these guys have by necessity gained a strong grasp of the basic tenets of the Christian life, and they present this information in a concise, logical, easy-to-follow manner that parallels their own thought processes and personal experiences. It's not a textbook; it feels more like an ongoing conversation with a friend.
But they weren't content to merely present a blueprint for living life as a Christian. The primary purpose of the book is to challenge readers to live as Jesus lived in front of the world around them. It's not enough to know all the answers if we keep them to ourselves. In the book's opening passages, they even make a strong case for the importance of people with ordinary, non-stardom-based lives living as "roaring lambs" in their 9-to-5 routines.
What I suspect fans will enjoy reading most are the pages in which each band member momentarily takes center stage to share a personal struggle, a time of familial pain or loss, or an insight into life on the road. Not because these passages are particularly juicy, but because they are very easy to identify with. Yes, these guys really are just like you and me, and they walk through the same fire and trials that we do. Somehow that's a comforting thought.
But be forewarned that Shine is not light reading. These guys had a lot to say, and they said it all with great care and thoroughness. It weighs in at a hefty 312 pages, not counting the dozens of pages of discussion/study questions in the back of the book. And while it's written in a conversational tone, at times it can be as deep and heady as the writings of someone like Michael Card.
Shine, in the end, is nothing less than a skillful, intelligent accomplishment, especially for a group of first-time writers.
Book cover courtesy of Whitaker House.
By Robin Parrish