Sunny Side Up

January 5, 2019

The Breakfast Conversation That Could Change Your Life


“Because whenever Jesus speaks, there is no telling what might happen. If you start your day with him, who knows where it might end. And maybe, just maybe – in the midst of all the voices in the coffee shop or breakfast joint – maybe you will hear a voice with a Galilean accent calling you to stop, and sit, and listen. And be changed.”


Dewitt has a talent for reintroducing freshness to the familiar and warming a cold heart. In Sunny Side Up, he invites (and it does feel like an invitation) the reader to reflect on the resurrected Jesus cooking breakfast on a beach for his disciples. It is gorgeously written. Structurally brilliant with accessible and short paragraphs, the book could be finished in a single sitting. But this would be the wrong way to read it; the forte of Sunny Side Up is that it is applicably rich, and therefore to be read contemplatively. Dewitt expects the reader to change. With so much time given to responding to God’s Word, I was willingly forced to ask myself questions like “has my desire to streamline everything in radically following Jesus replaced my heart for him?”


Here is a jolt to our holding books at arm’s length.


As Sunny Side Up is a discussion of John 21:1-25, the writing centres on what it looks like to love Jesus and to humbly follow him; a mammoth task. Sadly, with such a broad goal it is not an overly focused book and is weakened because of it. Although there are many wise gems scattered from start to finish, and each of these is genuinely valuable, there is no single, tight point rammed home with the force that it could have had. As well as this, one particular incident in which Dewitt apologises for using (well-explained) technical language is a little condescending, and appears, I think, to be part of a larger movement of overreaction to inaccessibility.


Despite this, there is much else to commend here. Sunny Side Up is funny. I mean more by this than it just entertaining; by being light-hearted but avoiding the snare of flippancy, it paradoxically carries more weight than it otherwise would if fully “serious”. Because Dewitt is pleasingly keen to communicate the joy of following Christ, such humour really helps, even if once or twice feeling forced. For those who are visual learners, it reads like a pair of amused and kindly, if slightly wearied, old eyes.


With such a focus on the heart, and a remarkable ability to gently tighten the screw on his thorough and grounded applications, I particularly recommend Sunny Side Up to we who move in conservative circles, read a lot, and have a Pharisaic disposition. It is warm. And on its warmth, the reader can have their character re-shaped.



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