“Detours: The Unpredictable Path to Your Destiny” is the first book I’ve read by Dr. Tony Evans, and I experienced two distinct reactions to it: resonance and repulsion. The good definitely outweighed the bad, and I learned a few practical tips to help discern God’s hand in my life.
>> Resonance – What I loved about “Detours” <> Repulsion – What Annoyed Me in “Detours” <<
The author’s casual, conversational writing style reflects a pastor’s heart and is filled with real-life illustrations much like a sermon would be. As someone very familiar with the story of Joseph, I found the detailed retelling (and re-retelling) of the milestones in his life unnecessary; however, someone unfamiliar will certainly benefit from this effort.
It was not long before I deduced that Detours was doubtlessly a sermon or sermon series developed into a book. The main development tool must have been a Thesaurus, because the repetition in the book became bothersome.
While I can understand repeating key points and phrases when speaking to a live audience—and I am hopeful those who purchase the audiobook will appreciate it—as a reader, I was repulsed reading the same point multiple times within a few paragraphs. I would highlight a profound statement only to have it repeated—almost word-for-word—in the next paragraph, and/or again on the next page! Thank God for Thesaurus.com, huh? Honestly, I got it the first time. The repetition felt like filler. (There were also a couple of non-sentences that bugged me because they made no sense at all.)
And, then there was the unexpected switcheroo in the conclusion where the author—instead of recapping the lessons learned from Joseph’s life as expounded throughout the book—chose Ruby Slippers to insert an incredibly well-known and previously un-mentioned fictional character and story line to illustrate his point. I found the introduction of Dorothy and her companions form the “Wizard of Oz” to be completely out of place and the allegorization of the movie's cast and plot unnecessary and distracting. (There may have been a moment when I clicked my heels three times to get back to Kansas Joseph…and it worked!) Dr. Evans does, in the end, recap Joseph's journey and the practical life lessons learned along the way. He challenges us to pay attention to the pattern of promotions in Scripture: From Abraham to Joseph and Moses to Esther, we are reminded that our destiny has a kingdom purpose.
"Your destiny and kingdom purpose often involve both a hookup and a hope to people beyond yourself. Look for both as God guides you." (p. 199)
"Detours" is the kind of book I wish I had read in my twenties, although I'm not sure my twenty-year-old self would have embraced the truths contained in these pages. I highly recommend the book to anyone who finds himself or herself in a holding pattern or on a "never-ending" detour. You will be encouraged and your hope, refreshed. Pastors, church leaders, mentors, and coaches will benefit from the memorable and easily transferable lessons contained herein.