Right Side Up. Author: Paul Grimmond
Review by Caitlin Hurley from Equip Book Club
At my church we are in the habit of regularly running Christianity Explored. At the end of the course some people have become believers, while others are still thinking and working through what it means to follow this man Jesus. At the end of each course we like to give the participants a book about Christianity that will help them to continue to think through who Jesus is and what it means to follow him. We have discovered that Right Side Up by Paul Grimmond is the most helpful book to give.
There are so many things to love about this book. Here are my top five reasons that I think this book is the perfect book to give new believers or people who are genuinely wresting with the gospel.
Clearly presents the gospel
The whole premise of this book is that without the gospel we are all living life the wrong way up. To steal an illustration from the book, without the gospel it is like we are all walking around on our hands when we really should be walking on our feet. Grimmond clearly argues that it is Jesus who turns us rights side up and allows us to live the way that we were created to live. Paul starts by introducing the reader to the man Jesus and then shows how the Bible, from creation to Revelation, is one cohesive story about Jesus. Using simple language and rhetorical questions, Paul unpacks that sin is the reason our lives are upside down and that Jesus is the solution this problem.
Clearly unpacks Christian concepts and jargon
As Christians we have language that is unique to our tribe. We say words or phrases like ‘the Holy Spirit’ or ‘trust in Jesus’ and know amongst ourselves what they mean. For a new believer or seeker these words and concepts can be quite foreign and there may be embarrassment in asking what they mean. Grimmond helpfully unpacks these concepts and many more throughout the book. As someone who has been a Christian for a while this book has given me some really helpful language that I can use in my own personal evangelism to explain complex but life changing things.
Explains theology but also the practicalities of the Christian life
Right side up not only clearly presents the gospel but it also provides wisdom on the day to day aspects of the Christian life. This wisdom ranges from God’s design for money, sex and relationships (chapter 6) to helping new believers tell their friends and family about why they are now living differently (chapter 9.) Other practicalities include how to read the Bible (chapter 7 and the appendices) and explanations of what church is and how to find a good one and how to pray (chapter 8). Paul helpfully explains all the things that we as mature Christians have either taken for granted or presumed knowledge.
Easy to read
Grimmond has a winsome and endearing way of writing. At some stages you almost feel like he is in the room and you are having a conversation with him. Through the use of easy language, rhetorical questions, powerful illustrations and personal anecdotes this book could be a rather fast read. On the other hand the content is so rich and thought provoking that a slower read would be immensely rewarding.
Tying this book together is a series of personal testimonies from different people from all backgrounds and life stages. Through these testimonies we learn what it means to live right side up. We hear of the challenges that this new life brings in a world wrong side up and also the joys of living right side up. These testimonies bring a multitude of other voices to the book and provide extra wisdom that is deeply personable, true and easy to relate to.
When I finished this book I was reminded of the richness of God’s grace and the joys of living right side up. I also found myself genuinely encouraged to the share this joy with others. Reading Right side up has spurred me on to share with people that we are living in an upside world and that the only way to get right side up is Jesus.