Fuzzy Thoughts of David

Book Review: Viral – Dr. Leonard Sweet

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Full Disclosure: I received this book as a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

I must start out by confessing that I am a Leonard Sweet fan. I was unaware of how much a fan I was until I read his book Viral. Through 198 pages Sweet leads an expedition into two convergent cultures. That of the written word (Gutenbergers) and that of the technological (Googlers). The goal is to get the Gutenbergers to realize it is a Googler world and if we are going to be faithful to the call of God we must be willing to not only recognize the changes in our culture, but find ways to connect and love in this new world.

Sweet outlines differences between Gutenbergers and Googlers approach to life, relationship, connection, and more. He doesn’t dwell on the rightness or wrongness of either approach to life, but points out areas where each can learn from the other. Sweet seems especially eager in encouraging the Gutenbergers to understand and embrace some Googler ways. He also encourages Googlers to recognize what a Gutenberger approach to life has to offer.

Most reading the book will find they have traces of both cultures lurking within, but usually there is a leaning toward one culture or another. Nevertheless, there are learnings and warnings no matter where you find yourself. Sweet points out that the church has not done a particularly effective job in embracing technology in order to extend the Jesus life. Perhaps the church isn’t effective because it (we) are stuck in a Gutenberg culture and are happy there. If we are to be faithful to Jesus, we must be able to navigate both cultures for the love of Jesus.

I should also mention that Sweet, as usually, includes copious endnotes, about 30 pages worth! I love the endnotes because they back up his research, argument, and allows me to continue learning long after I finish the book!

I highly recommend this book, knowing that not all will appreciate Sweet’s writing style (very, very creative and thought provoking), or his message. However, Sweet is on target with calling the church, especially those of us caught in the middle of both cultures, to embrace ways of connecting without leaving behind the core of the Jesus life. Sweet’s commitment to Jesus, the church, and reaching the world with the love of God is clearly displayed.

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