My Beautiful Idol  -     By: Pete Gall
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My Beautiful Idol

Zondervan / 2008 / Paperback

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Product Description

Tired of materialistic, me-first culture Pete Gall leaves a well-paying job in advertising to go serve the poor and homeless. Raw, honest and edgy, Gall doesn't spare the details of his own struggles with faith and culture. What emerges is one man's discovery of God's amazing love in the messiness and unanswered questions of life.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Zondervan
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0310283108
ISBN-13: 9780310283102
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

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Publisher's Description

Idols are good for two things: making us feel important and making us feel loved. But the idols keep crashing---even when the author turns to his own Christian faith to construct an identity that will give him the life he craves. Through a variety of experiences---sublime and wretched, ego-building and humbling, joyous and painful---he learns the difference between pursuing “holy hero status” and discovering the unpredictable and uncontrollable love of God.

Author Bio

Pete Gall is an author, speaker, freelance copywriter, brand strategist, and passion-driven gadfly whose clients range from Fortune 50 corporations to national denominations, tech start-ups, nonprofit organizations, and local churches. Pete and his amazing wife, Christine, live in Indianapolis with their two dogs.


“St. Augustine invented the confessional memoir. Modern examples are shorter and funnier (think Anne Lamott and Donald Miller). Now comes Pete Gall, who somehow gathers the messiness of his life into an enduring account, one both poignant and whimsical.” - Philip Yancey, author of What’s So Amazing about Grace?

“My Beautiful Idol is a delicate reminder to denounce all that dazzles that does not look like Jesus. It is an invitation to say no to all other lovers and counterfeit hopes, and to put our faith in the God that is blessing the most downtrodden people of this world, the God whose gospel is good news to the poor.” - Shane Claiborne, author of The Irresistible Revolution

Publisher's Weekly

At age 23 Gall walked away from a lucrative advertising job, determined to uphold his ethical standards while revolutionizing the world and the church. Five years later, after dropping out of seminary and quitting jobs with a rehab program, a community center, a home for developmentally disabled men, Bud's Warehouse and a plumbing distributor, he returned to his Midwestern family, musing, "What do you call someone who leaves the ordinary world on a hero's journey, but fails?" Like Rob Bell (Velvet Elvis) and Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz), Gall is edgy the evangelical way: he keeps sex and swearing mostly offstage, but, like other good guys, drinks, doubts and unleashes scathing sarcasm at the conservative Christian subculture.Now in his mid-30s, Gall mocks his younger self throughout: a "fat blond guy" with "no car, no cash, no direction, no prospects, no discipline." Relentlessly ironic, he may invite misunderstanding: do his harsh criticisms reflect his present view of evangelical reality, or are they meant to show his postadolescent pomposity?Nevertheless, his themes are clear: God doesn't need an image consultant; it is better to be authentic than great; and to achieve authenticity we must forsake "our deepest sin and our love for our most beautiful idol: to be our own god." (May) - Copyright © 1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Reviews

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  1. Amy
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    March 31, 2008
    "I wonder what it would be like to wake up and be with other people who are awake--to live with less fear, fewer lies, less compulsive consumption and all the other junk that keeps us anesthetized. I wonder if there are people who actually live that way. Weirdos, I'm sure." -My Beautiful Idol pg 20With that, the author leaves a good paying job in advertising and heads off to change the world for God. He ends up working in a rehab program, as a pastor's assistant in an urban church, at a group home for mentally-disabled men, for a ministry program, and as a plumbing salesman.His encounters with fellow Christians are at times comical and at other times heart-breaking. The hardest parts are when you recognize yourself in the people he meets and in his struggles and you understand that we often do good things for totally wrong reasons.I found this book challenging as I followed the author from the brashness of youth and a desire to make a difference to the more mellow faith that is slightly tempered by life experiences. He does an excellent job of illustrating how we each hide behind our "things" and how God is rarely how we expect him to be. However, He is always there. The arguments are not always simple and I'll admit that there were a couple of times that I had a hard time following. It was worth the effort though.
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Pete Gall
Located in: Indianapolis, IN
Submitted: April 03, 2008

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I'm married to the strongest, bravest, most beautiful woman in the world. We live near a river in a yellow Craftsman bungalow on the near north side of Indianapolis with our two dogs. When I'm not writing books, I work as a brand consultant and copywriter for a wide variety of non-profit and for profit organizations, helping them align their marketing with their deeper sense of calling and virtue. We're active at Redeemer Presbyterian Church downtown, are part of a couple of small groups, daydream about living overseas, and are commonly found playing Scrabble in the evenings.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  I wanted to write the book I wish I'd had during my five years of mostly urban ministry during my mid-20s. I wish I'd known these things: - it's normal to want to take faith more seriously - other people have done so before - there is a difference between grace and indolence, and there is also a difference between dedication and hyperbole - the big life question is NOT "who am I?" The big life question is "where do I make sense?" - nothing is unredeemable - the clock is ticking, but there's nothing in particular you HAVE to do before it runs out - in the same way that most stereotypes are based on some degree of truth, people who are presented as wise tend to actually know a few things (the answer to the big questions are still found in church, even if there are plenty of false answers competing for your attention there) Mostly, though, I started this project just to see if I could actually write an entire book. From there it has sort of taken on a life of its own.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  A sense of personal permission to sigh and to relax into the arms of the God who loves us far more -- and far better -- than we may have come to believe.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  I came to see that the coolest thing about me is that I love. And that love is alive, quickened by One who IS love. That's pretty darn cool.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  Frederick Buechner showed me that while there is nothing new under the sun, there is still all sorts of joy in paying attention to, and reveling in, the old stuff that's hear. I write because he showed me there is still reason to write. I wrote My Beautiful Idol after reading Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. It is the greatest work of American fiction yet created, and should be required reading for anybody interested in exploring the confluence of faith and service. Philip Yancey has been a strong influence, but has also become a friend, and frankly I treasure him more as a person than as an artist. Brennan Manning spoke my language in Ragamuffin Gospel -- which WAS the book I leaned into during my 20s. I am quite fond of him. Annie Dillard filled my heart on a great many nights when there was nobody to fill my arms. Scott Cairns is my favorite poet. My book sold because Donald Miller and Anne Lamott hacked out a course for me to follow. If I experience any success, it will be as a result of their having gone first. In the past couple of years, nobody has done more to shape my convictions and open my heart to joy than Ron Frost, whose passion for Bible reading -- and the relationship with the Lord he's fostered there -- is now a raging contagion for anyone who meets him. Other strong notables: Pascal Luther Athanasius Augustine Desert Fathers (Merton's Wisdom of the Desert is a good place to start) The Philokalia Leanne Payne Nate Larkin The last one is an author whose first book will release from Zondervan in the Spring of 2009. Robert Gelinas has had as deep, strong, and lasting a guiding influence in my life as anybody alive -- and he's done it not only by calling me out, but by modeling a dramatic courage and confidence in life that I pray I may one day know in my own soul. I can't wait to have the world meet this potent Denver pastor (who shows up in my book as Pastor Ellison).

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  My Passion in a Nutshell Enough of this cutesy "we're better because they're worse" Christianity - from old guard political platforms to young believers who think torn jeans, a tall coffee, and some bitter complaints spewed through spotty facial hair somehow represents a better way. How about actually searching for, and standing upon, a better way? And the better way isn't found in new places. The better way is exactly where - and with whom - it has always been. Enough revolution. Enough feeding frenzy on the dead horse of a worn out approach to church. Enough fighting fire with fire. Bring water. Rediscover passion. Experience adventure. Pay a price. See what happens when you replace "principles" with "virtues" - see if there isn't enough of "home" left in you for some homesickness for a better way, a way breathed to life by God, to still stir passions in your life. Prodigals don't thrive in the far away land. Elder brothers are slaves until they summon the courage to speak honestly to their fathers. Let us meet there - on our Father's land - and ask him, together, how we might live and turn this life into a tour of princes and princesses who bring justice and comfort and meaning to a world that is dying for it, and will only hear it if we make it our passion first. This is why I do what I do. And it's bringing me back to life.


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