No More Dragons: Get Free from Broken Dreams, Lost Hope, Bad Religion, and Other Monsters by Jim Burgen first caught my interest because of its cool title. We all know that a “dragon” is a bad thing. A person that we might call a dragon is someone who is characterized by bad attitudes, bad actions, and evil ways.
Burgen’s claim is that no one sets out to be a dragon. It’s a step-by-step kind of thing. First you make one bad choice, then you make another bad choice, and before too long you don’t even recognize yourself in the mirror. He should know. He found himself feeling just the same way as a young college student. He was a preacher’s kid, disillusioned with church people, and giving up on Jesus because of the failings of those around him. He made one bad decision after another, and by the time he was in college, he didn’t recognize who he’d become or how to get back to being the person that he wanted to be. He needed Jesus to “undragon” him.
Being “undragoned” is an idea that he takes from C.S. Lewis’s chronicles of Narnia, where when you act like a dragon, you can become one. Then, the only person who can “undragon” you is Aslan. Burgen spends the remainder of the book proving to the reader that life with Jesus is so much easier than life without, and that just like you didn’t become a dragon over night, it’s a process to becoming “undragoned.” It’s not enough to just believe in Jesus. If you want to stop being a dragon you’re going to have to place your life under his authority.
There’s a lot of good stuff in this book. I think sometimes we don’t act with compassion towards people who are broken from the consequences of the bad choices that they’ve made. We tend to forget that everyone makes bad choices and that if you make enough of those bad choices, you’ll soon find yourself leading a life that is not a life that anyone would want.
He develops the idea that authentic faith is in the following. You can believe Jesus’s words and still be a dragon. You have to be willing to step out in faith and allow Jesus to change you. A church can be a great partnership in your journey from dragonhood, but it can also be a stumbling block. We have to fight to keep our churches places where we can take off the scales of our dragonhood.
I found myself agreeing with much of the book. Sometimes I was a little put off by the “dragoning” and “undragoning” talk throughout. It’s not the terminology I would use, and perhaps that’s a good thing. If someone’s been hurt by church or disillusioned, they probably don’t want to hear us use the terms that they’re all too familiar with to describe our lives of faith.
I also had one or two minor doctrinal quibbles with him, but overall, I felt like this was a very good book. It was a reminder that we don’t set out to make bad decisions. We just make them anyway. We can’t save ourselves. Only Jesus can save and sanctify us. The Christian life is not always the easy life, but it’s so much easier and has so much more joy than trying to live life without Christ.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Booklook Bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.