I am not a hoodlum.

{We are not Hoodlums by Cory Copeland – a book in review}

I hate devotionals. Like, I really hate them. I can’t remember ever finishing one, because the whole idea just seemed unpleasant. Usually I find them to be dry, overly serious, and overloaded with Scripture references and rules and how-to become a better believer in 23 easy steps! And I always felt like I was being yelled at in devotionals. I walked away from them feeling guilty and inadequate and ashamed, because the only thing I could see was how far away from being a good Christian I really was. Surely I’m not the only person who’s felt that way, right?

When it comes to dealing with the problems we struggle with, the hardships we face nowadays, hope is found when we meet other people battling through those same issues. Knowing you aren’t alone brings with it a sense of peace, because that means we can find hope and strength in the each other’s stories. We can listen and be heard.

Because that’s what I need most these days – to talk about what I’m going through with someone who gets it.

So why not read a devotional that talks to me, not at me? A devotional that meets me where I am and lets me know that I can make it through. A devotional that takes me on a journey to better know myself. A devotional that speaks of the redemption, hope, and love to be found in our Father no matter how far we believe we’ve fallen. A devotional for those of us who feel a bit lost and a little worn.

A devotional for the rest of us.

And that is what Cory Copeland has left between the pages of We are not Hoodlums. He has carefully and wonderfully selected topics that young people these days will encounter around every corner. Things like depression, loneliness, sex, addiction, relationships, etc. are examined from a place of equality, because Copeland wants the reader to know first and foremost that while he may not have all the answers, he has been through it all. And he has come out the other side. He has survived, and you have the power to survive as well.

We are not Hoodlums

Weaving together Scripture and personal stories and pop culture references, Copeland takes the reader on a 31 day journey towards realizing that you are not a hoodlum. You are not beyond redemption or grace or God’s love and forgiveness. He speaks with honesty and a spirit of camaraderie on the struggles that come with being a Christian these days. He leads the reader through the sometimes difficult subjects (but not without a sense of humor), letting them know every step of the way they are not alone, they are loved, and they can find peace in a gracious God.

It’s a beautiful thing.

And it is for everyone. It is for your sister, your brother, your best friend, your boyfriend or girlfriend, the girl that lives in the dorm next to you, the guy you play basketball with a couple times a week, new Christians and those who have grown up in the Church, the person who enjoys a good Jack Kerouac or Newsies reference. There is something for everyone inside the pages of We are not Hoodlums, a message that anyone can draw from and find encouragement. It meets you where you are and dares you to go farther, to become stronger. It’s real and it’s for you.

So as a person who hates devotionals, this is one I love. The writing is engaging and beautiful; Copeland’s own style – prose with poetic tendencies. The words wrapped around me and left me smiling every time. It spoke to me and gave me a renewed feeling of belonging in God’s Church. It spoke a message I needed to hear, words of grace and forgiveness. I was challenged after each entry, challenged to go out a live the life of a crazy saint.

Because I am not a hoodlum. I am a child of God.

Read this devotional and believe that you are, too.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter >> @cassiclerget.
I’m pretty entertaining.


4 thoughts on “I am not a hoodlum.

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