Review of Bo’s Cafe

A Resource for the Battle in Your In Mind:  Bo’s Café Book Review

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Feeling life is coming apart, and full of anger.  Not sure how to handle the frustration building in his life.  If only others would change, things would be fine.  Everyone around can see something is going on, but they keep their distance.  Distance seems to be a new friend.  He knows it’s not right, but one must stay in control.  But he  still feels as if  he is just bumping around in the dark.  This is where Steve, the main character, of Bo’s Cafe finds himself as he encounters Andy.  In this encounter, hope is offered, but can Steve see the flicker of light in the darkness?

 

“Bo’s Cafe” by Bill Thrall, Bruce Mcnico and John S. Lync, was recommended to me from a conversation around mental illness,  and the challenge of how to walk with others, who are struggling.

 

Bo’s Cafe is a story which reminds us that we are all broken.   We all need a safe community of relationships.  “Not just a place to just let everybody hear ones’ garbage.  Who needs that?  I can get that in my own head.  Safe is where  I can tell  you my garbage  so  you  can enter  in and stand  with me in the solution of  it.  That’s safe, man.(p.120)”  It is a story that reminds us of our  struggle with identity.

 

Reading the book made me reflect on myself, and how I interact in my own relationships and  within community.

In my opinion, here are the top three important points.

1. A Conversation around identity.

We all struggle with identity and the lies we believe that define who we are in life.  Many followers of Jesus struggle with truly trusting what God says about us.  At times we listen to shame and what it says of who we are.  We must remember that Jesus took that shame away, and we no longer have to listen to that voice.

 

As said in the book, it is hard to replace the lies we tell ourselves with real identity God’s way (p.152).  Embracing the new story of life that Jesus offers is not easy.  We are afraid and so act out, and try to take control.  The character in the story uses anger to try and stay in control.  The book challenges the reader to embrace real identity God’s way; they are going to need to admit they can do nothing and really need God’s help.

 

“Repentance isn’t doing something about your failure. It’s not just agreeing you’ve done something wrong; it’s admitting you can’t do what needs to be done to make it right. God waits and yearns for that moment with everything in him. (p.. 164)”

 

We have to admit that what we are doing is destructive for ourselves and to those around us.  We run around trying to fix everything, steering the wheel, and we simply cannot hear God’s voice.

2. What lies have I bought into in my life?

 

– This was a question I asked myself after reading the book.

 

What lies do I allow myself to believe?  Lies that effect how I relate to my wife, and even in return effect how she embraces God’s call.  Lies that affect my kids, and those I oversee as a pastor.  Lies that hold me back from walking in the calling of God in my life.

3. A Reminder about community.

 

“Even a guy as screwed up as me can give a friend a safe place.   Even a man as flawed as I am can help a friend rewrite his story with the real story, the true story – of Christ coming through me.” (p.152)

 

Wrapped up in that is being able to open up, to truly let someone in.  The book is a good reminder that God has given us the body of Christ, other followers of Jesus to help guide us through this life.  We need a pit crew or one who serves as a protector to help us through life.

 

The story is a reminder that there are no together people, just those with whiter teeth (p.213).

 

There is a place for community and honest relationships, and somehow through that, freedom can be found.  The community will need to embrace grace and lay down defenses.

 

I think it may be a book that I will go back to from time to time. For those looking for “the four steps”, unfortunately you will not find that.  What you do find is a lesson in the role of a grace-filled community in life.