I first heard of D.A. Horton from a YouTube video in which he was promoting ReachLife Ministries. – the ministry/educational arm of the powerhouse record label, Reach Records. Horton had recently taken over as the Executive Director of ReachLife and was explaining the intentions and some of the goals of the ministry, to include where he was praying God would lead it. He was very purposeful in his statements and his presentation of, not only the message of ReachLife, but the message of the gospel.
This was a brother whom I could tell knew the gospel and was able to communicate such truths to brothers and sisters on the block, as well as brothers and sisters in the church. When the opportunity to review his first book presented itself – I had to take it.
Horton has written an extremely easy to read book. At only 77 pages, someone should be able to make it from cover to cover in less than two or three sittings. However, to take the brevity of the book as a weakness would be a discrediting to the author – I think Horton did a great job with his first effort as a published author.
As with any book, there are some aspects I liked better than others. And although they are few and far between, there are some specifics that I didn’t like at all. However, at the end of the day, I don’t think anyone would be upset investing time in reading this book.
When reading this book, you can’t help but wonder who the book was written for – someone wanting to communicate the gospel to urban dwellers or urban dwellers who want to know more about the gospel.
It’s actually both.
The book is written in such a way that if the reader can already explain the gospel in a clear and concise manner, this book provides the tools needed to be able explain it to someone in an urban context. The slang and terminology that Horton uses in this book is used in such a way that someone unfamiliar with the meanings might be able to understand the words if they heard them in person. On the reverse, the book is written in such a way that if someone from the urban context had questions about the gospel, aside from someone walking along side them one on one, this would be a good resource for them to read. Again, the slang and terminology Horton uses to explain complex theological truths is right on par with how brothers and sisters in the urban context speak.
Which leads to one of the few issues I have with the book. Horton defines the slang and terminology he uses in the book as “Thebonics” and he defines it as “the presentation of theological truths in the language known as ebonics, the rich slang that is part of our urban neighborhoods, especially African-Americans, to describe people and situations in the hood.” Basically, it’s a term he created to explain his use of slang to express theologically specific terms and ideas.
That kinda bothers me. I would have liked for him to have chosen a better descriptor for the terminology he uses in his book. I don’t know too many African-Americans, Hispanics, etc., whom are comfortable with the term “ebonics” – if they remember the controversy when the term was first introduced to be used in a school setting. This, I believe, is the only shortcoming of the book. (I am sure that there was no ill-intent in its use. I believe Horton only used it as a means of identification to the target audience whom would most likely read the book. He is a man who has an apparent and sincere love for all of God’s people. This instance is just something that I personally didn’t like.)
Aside from that, which is far from distracting, the book is good. I would not hesitate in recommending it to anyone, especially teens and young adults. I think it would be a great youth group study or even a personal study.
Pick it up a few copies for your youth group or just one copy for the teen in your family – it’s well worth it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Moody Publishing through the Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. I have not received payment for a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.