Have you ever been at a point in your life when you asked God “Why is this happening?”
If you’ve been filled with grief over a tragic event and you can’t understand why God would allow such disappointment, Aubrey Sampson understands. Such a point in life she refers to as lament. Lament can happen over a job loss, diagnosis of an illness, death, or a difficulty in a marital relationship. In her new book The Louder Song, she talks about her own journey of lament and weaves it with the lament stories that you might have heard in the Bible (or may not have, given that Christians are so often told to put on a happy face).
Aubrey Sampson is honest in telling her story. She knows that on the journey of grief, you can’t just get a how-to-do-grief book, and go on your merry way. You can’t just fix it neatly for yourself or someone else. You have to go through it. You have to feel the hurt and pass through it. There are no shortcuts for grief. She affirms every Christian who has asked the tough questions – why did this happen? How could God do this to me? Why don’t I have answers? She affirms that you are not a weak Christian for asking the questions and not having answers. Faith and questioning can and should co-exist in times of trials.
If you want a book that’s honest about grief, I highly recommend this book. Sampson is honest with her raw emotions and about her questions of God; I really liked her vulnerability.
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Is there a solution to #MeToo?
Day after day we’ve been bombarded with headlines of men behaving badly in the news. Popular men, celebrities, politicians, well-liked men, who’ve done things that have shocked and disappointed us all. We’ve all grown tired of these sad headlines. It’s time for a change. It’s time to hear about men behaving heroically. Proudly. In ways that honor their families, workplaces, and communities.
While men’s minister Kenny Luck doesn’t mention the #MeToo movement in his new book, Dangerous Good, it’s hard for me to not think that he wasn’t thinking of it while he was writing. He mentions men behaving badly and a “moral vacuum”. He asks: “Will masculinity continue to retain its negative connections with the world’s injustices?” ( xv) It’s similar to the question asked by Dan Connor in the recent Roseanne TV reboot, when Dan asks “When did masculinity become a dirty word?”
But this revolution, a “Coming Revolution of Men Who Care”, is all about the power of men who love Jesus, and not just guys who go to church, but guys who will fight for good. Those who will fight for the things that matter in life. Those guys have the power, together, for good. Kenny says, “When a man’s character and conduct become healthy, it changes things. Most directly, the women and children connected to his life and choices suffer less and develop better.” (p.95)
Dangerous Good is meant to inspire men to be their best selves, as the men they were meant to be, through the power of God. Kenny Luck challenges Christian men to be brave, to be in community with one another, and to think about their legacies. He doesn’t play along with gender wars of putting men and women against each other – he tries to inspire men to take on their God-given roles as warriors.
FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of it from the publisher in exchange for my review.
Book Review: The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety for Good? by Rhett Smith
“I was a thirty-five-year-old grown man sitting in my therapist’s office sobbing like an uncontrollable child…I began to realize that all those years I had allowed anxiety to get a stronger hold over my life… But anxiety was still in a battle to exert more control over my life than I wanted.” (Rhett Smith, The Anxious Christian, 174)
Smith provides assurance to anxious people that “God does not leave you alone in your anxiety…” (76). He generously shares his own experiences with marital problems, career concerns, and losing a parent. In what reads more like a memoir than self-help, Smith is like a friend saying “I know how you feel.”
The problem with The Anxious Christian is its theology on suffering. Smith, a licensed therapist, seems to endorse the idea that anxiety is from God rather than the result of living in an imperfect world. Referencing a session with a therapy client and the cause of the person’s anxiety, Smith asked the client, “What if God put that anxiety in your life for a purpose?” (84) Smith also reflects on his own life and suggests “…anxiety was perhaps a feeling that God had placed in my life to help bring about change.” (88)
The idea of God bringing a spirit of power, love and a sound mind doesn’t seem to match with Smith’s idea that God is the source of anxiety.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.