Free Book, by Brian Tome
By Matt Litton
June 15, 2010
The bold orange cover of Free Book* succinctly reflects the daring attitude of the author, Brian Tome, toward his topic: “I am a fanatic about freedom. I'm tired of seeing people beaten down by the world's systems and by religion. God's offering real freedom. Get yours.” Tome’s brutal honesty, quick-witted self-deprecation and refreshing authenticity comes through immediately in narrative style—a delivery that clearly elucidates his passion for the message of freedom: “We don’t need another book about the cross. As offensive as that statement might sound, it’s true. That important topic has been dissected in every which way possible. But a book on freedom? Yes. We need it badly.”
Tome goes on to discuss the many obstructions that hold followers of Jesus from the life of freedom—and the liberating promises of the Gospel. The first part of the book is dedicated to self reflection and allows the reader to examine his own life, to discover the things that steal away the freedom offered by the cross. He offers a gripping discussion of how confession truly leads to tangible, palatable freedom and examines how we often allow strongholds of slavery and deception to take root in our lives.
Tome discusses the role the Holy Spirit plays in our process toward freedom in a chapter titled “Experiencing the Ghost”—with the spiritual depth and wisdom of a grandfather weighted delicately with modern relevancy and without the dogma of religious language. Tome’s discussion turns out to be one of the more compelling messages about the role of God’s spirit in our lives that I can remember reading. He successfully navigates the line between spiritual guidance and practical application with his humorous and candid storytelling.
One of the most helpful sections of the book walks the reader through the process most of us will experience in our quest for freedom. Tome articulates, through practical application and biblical stories, how we first experience “the Blahs” of oppression—how we move toward freedom in a process he describes as the “the Break”—and then what to expect as we endure what he calls “the Blues”—a time where we adjust to the death of old and binding habits in order to finally experience “the Blessings” God desires to bring into our life.
Tome reaffirms our deep need for community as one of the keys to living out the freedom God has for us. Unlike so many other Christian books that are essentially “self-help” titles, Tome makes it clear this book has a much deeper aim: “This is what we are all invited to do: experience the freedom God offers, and live to make others free.” The book is unique in that it doesn’t provide a list of steps or formulas that promise happiness, but offers the framework for a deeper understanding of the need for confession, and forgiveness, and a renewed focus of our true calling as Christians to fight for the freedom of the people around us. You might just walk away from Free Book* a changed person—the kind who wants to scream about freedom as audaciously as Tome does on the cover.
Matt Litton is an educator and writer. For information on his upcoming book, The Mockingbird Parables, click here.