Review: Called to Create by Jordan Raynor

For years, my husband has said that if he were ever to write a book, it’d be about being called to create. He - and I - strongly believe that because we are made in the image of God, we are called to create.

Called To Create

Because of that, when I saw the title of Jordan Raynor’s book, Called to Create: A Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk , I was excited to read it. I wanted to see someone flesh out the ideas that my husband and I have been wrestling with for years.

Called to Create starts off well. Jordan first establishes that “God was the first entrepreneur. He brought something out of nothing. He established order out of chaos. He created for the good of others. Before the Bible tells us that God is loving, holy, or merciful, we learn that he is creative.” Jordan makes his case by expositing various passages in Genesis and Exodus, a section of the book that I very much enjoyed. In it, Jordan points out nuances that I’ve often missed. For example, he tells the story of Bezalel, who’s commissioned to help build the Tabernacle in Exodus 31:1-5. According to Jordan, “Before Bezalel could begin the work of rearranging the raw materials of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood to create something new, God had to fill him with his Spirit.” When looking at the creation story, Jordan also reminds us that “After working for six days, God left the earth largely undeveloped and uncultivated. He created a canvas and then invited us to join him in filling it.”

Unfortunately, after the initial investigation of Scripture, Called to Create quickly deteriorates. Much of the book is repetitive. What’s more, it is largely directed at entrepreneurs, a fact that is not evident in any of its marketing copy. While I don’t mind reading books not directed specifically at me, by the end of this one, I wanted to hurl Called to Create at a wall because far too many of Jordan’s chapters include the phrase, “Those of us who are called to create…”, a phrase which I fundamentally, theologically disagree with. If we are, each of us, created in the image of God, who is a creator, then we are ALL called to create, regardless of whether or not we’re entrepreneurs.

In the end, Called to Create is not the book I hoped it would be… Which, while disappointing, I suppose means my husband still has a book to write after all.


Disclosure: I received a free copy of Called to Create from Baker Books in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and the forthcoming A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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