Book Review: Searching for Agabus: Embracing Authenticity and Finding Your Way to You

Book Cover Images image of Searching for Agabus: Embracing Authenticity and Finding Your Way to You

by Michael Walrond

Publication Date: Jun 06, 2023
List Price: $22.99
Format: Hardcover, 144 pages
Classification: Nonfiction
ISBN13: 9781506485294
Imprint: Broadleaf Books
Publisher: 1517 Media
Parent Company: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Read a Description of Searching for Agabus: Embracing Authenticity and Finding Your Way to You

Book Reviewed by Robert Fleming

What is “an authentic self?” Michael Walrond, a well-known keynote speaker and the pastor of First Corinthian Baptist Church in New York City, defines the trendy term in his new book, Searching for Agabus: Embracing Authority and Finding Your Way to You. In this neon society, it is believed that people who stand out from the norm, uncomfortable with the rules and regulations, are often described as outlaws and mavericks. This society often has no time, energy, or compassion to deal with this group of unpredictable people, because it mandates that existence must be geared for the scrutiny and approval of others.

French novelist and philosopher Albert Camus has been quoted as saying: “The only way to deal with an untrue world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” From the days of kindergarten to the final commencement from high school, the soul has been molded by licensed professional manipulators into cookie-cutters suitable for any dull job opening or existence. People chose to live a mindless life, living quietly but mindlessly, yet avoiding being true to yourself.

As the cohost of the popular, nationally broadcast weekly radio program Keepin’ It Real with Al Sharpton, Walrond realizes the courageous and bold among us operate freely in a world conceived by their imagination. An authentic life steps over the images of conformity and mediocrity into the realm where you no longer need to pretend to be what you are not.

“Living authentically should be the norm,” Walrond writes. “Being true to yourself should be the standard by which we live. Sadly, it is not.” Much like the modern-day evangelists, he is wary of a world where surfaces and posing matter most. He speaks of the current times where we exist in “an age of mixed signals and confounding voices.” It speaks to a society giving perks to all who choose the best version of themselves and yet is punitive with all of those who refuse to fall in love with what everyone else is doing.

Throughout the book, Walrond views the smooth, slick images of Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and TV commercials, capturing the public in a sinister cycle of prefabricated trends and fads. The nonconformists are the ones who would surrender to the pressures of a closed society. They are known as rebels, radicals, and the maladjusted. He identifies the moral blindness of the unfree, but they play an important role in operating the maze of society.

“The unfree normalize their bondage to the extent that they no longer recognize the nature and depth of their captivity,” Walrond writes. “What keeps the unfree bound are the blinding bindings on the unfree that make captivity alluring, beautiful, sweet. …They [unfree] are not aware that they are unfree.”

The author states that self-acceptance is the key, not approval from people or places. He warns against trashing of the self or identity. Or validation at all costs. Some are addicted to proving themselves worthy. He insists the journey to authenticity is never easy. There is no one way.

One personal moment occurs when Walrond examines his beloved grandfather’s death from liver cancer. The author prayed for a divine cure, feeling the old man would be around for the milestones in his life. However, he slowly realized that God was helpless in the health crisis. With this loss, he resented God, calling his grandfather his best friend, his confidant, and biggest cheerleader. Later, he reversed his opinion of the Holy Father when he suffered a massive stroke.

In his biblical studies, Walrond discovered Agabus, a true prophet of the New Testament, who journeyed to Antioch where he foretold of a future famine. Walrond dismissed the famine was of food but grew out of a hunger for authenticity, citing its power to transform the world.

Throughout this slim book, Walrond mentions the significance of assuming proactive nature toward conflicts and confrontations. “Do not simply retreat and surrender in the face of the challenging times that will come along in your journey. Resolve in your spirit that when the unavoidable and painful realities of living manifest themselves in your life, that you will view those moments as an opportunity to create in the dark.”

Walrond’s Searching for Agabus provides several tools to cope with trauma, insecurities, anxieties, especially when self-discovery and healing are a priority. He reminds us that life is fragile and fleeting while death is inevitable. The winning Walrond formula convinces us that we are God’s joy. We are enough. Accept no replica or no copy or no counterfeit of yourself.

Read Broadleaf Books’s description of Searching for Agabus: Embracing Authenticity and Finding Your Way to You.

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