Stigma means to suffer embarrassment for identifying with the Christian faith. Stigma is the key word for R. T. Kendall in his book, Unashamed to Bear His Name. Kendall invites the reader to embrace stigma of the cross.
As he says, “I write this book basically for one reason: that you will be unashamed to accept the scandal of that arises from following Jesus Christ.” Stigma for him goes with the scandal of following the cross.
Stigma also is the prism from which he writes his book. Though he admits his readers won’t agree with 100% of his theology (I didn’t), his honesty in writing is greatly appreciated. The first half of the book was easier to read then the second half because seeing stigma in everything seemed to drive his writing.
What I would have liked to seen is more on the blessing that comes from following Christ. What we often see as stigma is ultimately a greater blessing in living life. Though he says the goal in writing the book “is to bring you to rejoice as Peter and John did, when they embrace the privilege fo suffering for the shame of Jesus’ name.” I felt the focus was more on finding and emphasizing the stigma, then embracing the privilege.
The advantage of the book for me was asking what am I willing to die for when it comes to my faith? What beliefs define my relationship with Jesus? What am I willing to have as a stigma in my life?
I was also impressed with Kendall’s relationship with Yassar Arafat, his openness to his strengths and weaknesses in life, and most of all his willingness to be unashamed to bear the name of Jesus stigma and all.
I give the book 3 stars out of 5. For those battling with the stigma of being a Christian, they may find great inspiration in his story.
Thanks to Chosen Books for providing a free copy to review. I was not required to give a positive review. If you would like to be part of their book reviewers for blogger program, go to www.bethanyhouse.com/bookreviewers!