Book blogger at Bookwi.se
Finding God’s will is a common desire. Often people can be paralized because they are afraid of not finding God’s will. Hearing God is a classic. This is the third copy of the book I have owned (one given and two purchased) over the years but the first time I am actually reading it.
I like that Willard starts by moving the pressure down a notch. He has a good illustration of the fact that no parent wants to tell their children everything that they should do. Parents want to teach their children how to do something, and expect that they will do it. If they are supposed to make their bed in the morning, they should make it every morning. Children complaining that the parent did not tell them this morning to make their bed will only incur the parent’s wrath. So Willard starts telling us we should listen to what scripture says and do that.
Another good point that I have never really thought of, is that we should always read scripture assuming that the people of scripture were much like us. They were not particularly special people, they were sinful, afraid, made bad decisions, etc. If we see them as much like us, then we can assume that we to should be hearing from God and seeking to follow God’s will in relatively similar ways as the biblical characters. Since reading that section, I have been more aware of the large number of Christians that actively resist thinking of biblical characters as ‘like us’. I think it shows one area that we have far to go to move Evangelicals into historical Christian Orthodoxy.
Overall what I am most impressed by, is the biblical balance that Willard attempts to strike. When you discuss hearing from God there are lots of places to veer into shaky ground. And I know that some are of the opinion that even discussing hearing from God goes too far. But Willard attempts to keep the desire to hear from God, the ways we hear from God, the reality of the power of God, and the limitations of our own understanding.
I am not an Anne Lamott devotee. So I do not read everything she writes. But I have read enough to know that she is a very good author and one that looks at spiritual realities from a different perspective.
So one day last month I was tired of all of my audiobooks I had been listening too and looked around to find another. I noticed that with my member discount at Audible, Help, Thanks, Wow was under $5. So I picked it up.
I had resisted previously because it is so short. In audiobook it is barely 90 minutes. In paper it is listed as 112 pages. But it must be a gift book sized pages.
However, for $5 I thought it was worth picking up.
I listened to it two days after listening to Palmer Parker’s Let Your Life Speak. The two books, although not at all similar in subject had a similarity in spiritual direction. Both emphasized that the Christian life is not striving after looking good or being respectable.
Instead the Christian life is about being sinful, selfish people while also attempting to know Christ. Anne Lamott can be an acquired taste. She does not feel the need to wrap things up nicely. She knows the value of a bit of swearing at the appropriate time. She refers to God as she pretty frequently, she does not think that only Christians have spiritual insights.
The point of the book is that behind all of our pretense, most of the time we are praying one of three prayers, Help, Thanks or Wow. Each of these prayers come to use even if we are not comfortable with prayer, because they are part of who we were created to be.
I want to emphasize that this is a short book (and I think overpriced in Kindle and Hardcover). But it does have wisdom. Anne Lamott deserves her place as one of the Evangelical gadflies. And I think with time she has earned her a place of wise elder as well as gadfly.
Originally posted at my blog, Bookwi.se
This is incredible personal and interesting look at CS Lewis. These are letters that were intended to be read the original reader, not a wider audience. So Lewis is thinking on the fly. Giving ideas, working things out in written form, counseling a friend and learning from him. Great reminder that spiritual friendships are important. I only wish that the other side of the conversation were also present. That does not really detract from the books (you understand what Malcolm has said by Lewis' response) but I think it would be interesting to hear the other side as well.