Monday, August 15, 2011

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory

If Jesus invited you to dinner, what would YOU ask?

From the Publisher
You are Invited to a Dinner with Jesus of Nazareth

The mysterious envelope arrives on Nick Cominsky’s desk amid a stack of credit card applications and business-related junk mail. Although his seventy-hour workweek has already eaten into his limited family time, Nick can’t pass up the opportunity to see what kind of plot his colleagues have hatched.

The normally confident, cynical Nick soon finds himself thrown off-balance, drawn into an intriguing conversation with a baffling man who appears to be more than comfortable discussing everything from world religions to the existence of heaven and hell. And this man who calls himself Jesus also seems to know a disturbing amount about Nick’s personal life.

As the evening progresses, their conversation touches on life, God, meaning, pain, faith, and doubt–and it seems that having Dinner with a Perfect Stranger may change Nick’s life forever.

My Take
This little book isn’t your typical small, quick, superficial read. It’s actually more of the opposite! It may be small but the contents are thought provoking and reflective.  For me, it’s a book that I’m going to have to read more than once to digest it all!

Skepticism abounds in the beginning of the book. From thinking the invitation is a joke from his friends to doubting Jesus at the beginning of dinner---“Tell me (Yesh), can you turn this wine back into water?”. Who can blame Nick? It’s not every day you get invited to dinner by Jesus! But by dessert, Nick is trying to decide if this guy is a nut-case, a great actor, or is it possible he’s the real thing?

Obviously Nick has a lot of questions and much doubt about this whole thing but he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions. As expected, the answers are not always specific or clear cut. They are meant for the reader to ponder and reflect about their own beliefs and values. On the flip side, sometimes the answers touched upon by Jesus are “lessons” that we need to learn.

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger is a splendid read for a book club or bible group. There are several different sets of study guides for group discussions (located here)—discussions for one meeting, 4 meetings, or 8 meetings. For a 100=page book, 8 weeks of discussion shows the inspiration of the book.

I would give this a 5 out of 5 star rating. The story is very well written, easy to read and understand, as well as a way to discover your own beliefs and views. I’m going to give this to a family member who has quite a bit of “alone time” due to his job. I’m not trying to convert someone with the book but just allowing them explore their own principles and convictions. I’m sure we all could use a little of that.

I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah’s Blogging for Books and have given my honest opinion of this book.

About the Author
David Gregory’s life has come full circle. Despite a love for writing and liberal arts in high school and college, David opted for a “more practical” business degree that launched him into a successful ten-year career in compensation management with three consulting firms and Texas Instruments. After a decade of spreadsheets, however, he was ready to look for a career offering more personal meaning. 

David returned to graduate school, earning a master’s degree from the University of North Texas with concentrations in communication and sociology. During that time, he began creative writing in the form of two short screenplays, one dramatic and one science fiction. He also started a periodic newsletter before joining a Christian ministry as staff writer and editor. While there, he coauthored two nonfiction books, The Marvelous Exchange and The Rest of the Gospel: When the Partial Gospel Has Worn You Out.

While earning another master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, David entertained a new craft: writing fiction. He decided that in a culture dominated by sound bites, reality TV, and the Internet, communicating through story could reach otherwise untapped audience. Taking some material on worldviews that he had planned to put into nonfiction form, he began writing Dinner with a Perfect Stranger. 

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