Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Kindness Challenge by Shaunti Feldman

Subtitled ‘Thirty Days to Improve Any Relationship”, this very practical book has a lot to offer. Addressing a real need in our world, Shaunti Feldman proposes a change in thinking and behavior, laid out in small, concrete steps. Taking on the challenge seems failproof, as our world, down to every single relationship, could use more of what the author so carefully lays out. Feldman’s definition of “kindness” encompasses far more, including compassion, thoughtfulness and even generosity. Her thorough research and careful consideration are reflected in her writing, making for a book whose time has come. In a time, and an election year, where fear, hostility and animosity have become commonplace, the challenge offered by the author could not be more important. Shaunti Feldman outlines 30 specific tasks in order to, in her words, nix the negatives, practice praise, and carry out kindness. In addition to addressing proactive steps, the author includes discussion about objections and resistance. This book is well written. I highly recommend it; as it deserves a wide audience. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Devotions for a Deeper Life - Oswald Chambers

By the author of My Utmost for His Highest, which I have not read, this newly published work consists of 365 devotionals. Let me say at the outset that this was not my cup of tea; I could rarely get myself to be on the same wavelength as the author, finding him very, very firm of opinion and coming from a different theological standpoint than I. Oswald Chambers did not mince words, so he was clear about what he thought and believed. His writing very much reflects a time gone by, with a tone that was at least exhortative and many times seemed to scold. It is not a tone you see much these days. At times, Chambers overstates his case, such as at the end of the devotional on page 103, where Chambers wrote very jarringly: “We are called to faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ. Any movement or person that contradicts Jesus, God will blast to pieces.” I don’t find that teaching in Scripture. On page 253, Chambers says, “This kind of self-sympathy, arising from the cares of this life, is carnal. It will kill the Spirit of God within you.” The Bible says we can quench the Spirit, but it never states we can “kill the Spirit of God” within us. If a firm tone is something you appreciate in a devotional, you might like this one. If not, I’d look elsewhere. I received this book for free in exchange for my unbiased review through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze Program.