This review, by Dr. Nicholson, has been provided courtesy of Desert Bible Institute http://www.desertbibleinstitute.com.
Chivalry, by Zach Hunter, is a straight-forward, practical book for American teens in the Christian church. Hunter expresses how his generation, The Millennials (otherwise known as Generation Y), is a generation in conflict. He tells how they are more concerned about social justice than social civility. In a generation where intimate communication is handled through social networking and text messaging, Generation Y has become filled with activists that are unfortunately also “spiritual anorexics”. His book explores how the youth of this country are primarily concerned with being nice (an external behavior) and pay little attention to being kind and self-sacrificing in a way that reflects Christ.
Hunter is clear about what he is, and what he isn’t, talking about in a clear compare/contrast structure. He uses narrative writing to good effect as he not only tells tales to exemplify his points, but also as he shares personal anecdotes that illustrate his point on a more mundane, day-to-day level. He makes some good spiritual points that should connect with many Christian teens. His writing is made even more accessible through his use of a clear step-by-step thematic structure to his chapters.
Hunter narrates his own book which adds to the easy, conversational tone of the book. He is able to make his prose sound like a discussion between an older brother returning home during a college break and his high-school sibling. The negative to this is that he goes a little heavy on the slang and popular analogies. This is great for what I assume is his target market (teenage Christians) but it will likely lose, irritate, or disconnect older readers. Loosely tied to this is the problem of his paraphrasing of scripture. While many times Hunter quotes scripture exactly, regularly he paraphrases scripture in what I assume are his own words in an attempt to convey relevance to young people today. While the idea of this may be appealing to younger readers, paraphrasing the inspired word of God is inherently dangerous because we risk misleading our readers by both pulling passages out of context and construing them to mean something they don’t. It is due to this that Hunter occasionally hovers on the line between hip and scripturally misrepresentative. Ironically, he does do a good job of repeatedly pointing out that we can’t trust ourselves or our personal sense of right and wrong.
The book moves along quickly and is a reasonably enjoyable read. The later points are a bit overly simplified; however, this is likely due to both the author’s lack of life experience (being a 21-year-old college student) and his target audience. It unfortunately leaves the more discriminating reader wanting more. I would recommend this book to any youth pastor or Bible camp coordinator as a good starting place for discussing the ideas of loving others as we love ourselves. I would also encourage these same counselors to have their teens dig deeper to encourage a lasting walk with Jesus Christ – something I’m sure Zach will do as he grows as a writer.
Trent Nicholson, Ph.D., D.Min.
Desert Bible Institute, President
Dr. Nicholson is a member of the christianaudio review program. To learn more, visit their website at: http://www.christianaudio.com.