Quiet Time

Please, sit. Make yourself comfy. I have a lot to say today. There are two book reviews in it for you if you make it that far.

So, you have assuredly noticed that I haven’t posted a book review in ages (excepting the Valentine’s post, of course). I haven’t posted in ages, frankly, but a book review in even longer. This is because I refuse to write a negative review. Couple reasons: the internet has too much hate anyway, and when you post something negative, you just start a snowball of negativity. Bleh. Two, I think that God can absolutely use any book, no matter how ridiculously bad, to start something in you if He wants to. Frankly, my faith has gotten so much bigger from reading “what does the Bible really say?” by none other than the Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Ministering to them is fun. Also stressful. Also OH MAN YOU LEARN A LOT.) So, if you got something out of reading a book that wasn’t biblical, and you left the dross behind, good for you! Who am I to say that your favorite Christian book is awful?*

So, no negative. Which means a lot of “no review.” And on my first review back, I’m going to break that rule. Shatter it thoroughly. Whoops.

But! There is good reason! Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels is, ahem, too good not to read. Mostly because you’ve already heard the bad stuff, and reading this book is getting these ideas from the source, before they were snapped up by legalistic people with an agenda.

What I mean is, Hybels has a few ideas in this book that are decent prayer suggestions that have been made into prayer gospel. You’ve heard these ideas. I promise. You might not have heard some of the other ideas in this book, also practical, biblical suggestions for what might be wrong with your prayer life. I took notes. Also there may have been post-it markers and random quotes sent to my husband.

However, like I said, there’s some junk in this book that needs dealt with. I could do that myself, but why would I do that when someone else has already done it more awesomely than I could have? I wouldn’t, that’s what. Please, please read Guilt-Free Quiet Times by Emily E Ryan (You can get the ebook there, or there’s a link there to buy it in paperback). It debunks 10 prayer and study myths, some of which are found in Too Busy Not to Pray, some of which have cropped up in the meantime – and some of which I didn’t realize I was believing. I loved this book, but I actually got more out of it after I had read the other.

Ryan does a really good job of releasing any guilt surrounding the non-sins of failing to have a consistent 30 minute quiet time in a perfectly private location (if I get a 30 minute time without my children in a private space, I love You God, I am taking a nap. This is biblical, I’m supposed to take care of this temple You gave me. I’ll make it up to you at 3am sometime.)

So, in the end, I would recommend both of them. I would also try to read them in quick succession, and note the scriptures they use. Maybe do a bible study on quiet times! PS: I recommend starting with Psalm 119. It’s a doozy, but it’s also one of my favorites. ❤

*Oh, hey. If you want me to tell you my opinion of a Christian book privately so you can know if you should read it or not, just email me. I am absolutely here to help with that sort of thing. I’m just not going to criticize books publicly, because I can’t be specific to people and situations that way. It’s kinda hard to speak “truth in love” to someone you know exactly nothing about.


Published in: on February 23, 2014 at 8:06 pm  Comments (1)  

For Women Only/For Men Only

Ask Strings. I am the most conservative reviewer ever. Which is to say, chances are really good that whatever it is, I don’t like it. I’m a fun-killer. My response to controversy is “avoid.”

So, I was a little bit surprised that I liked For Women Only and For Men Only by Shaunti Feldhahn.  The books are pretty controversial. They are definitely not politically correct, but neither are they particularly biblical. They’re just important.

Wait, what?

The author originally was writing a novel and wanted to make sure to correctly portray the inner dialogue of her male characters, and so she asked a bunch of guys that she knew how they would react in specific situations. She was stunned by the results–so stunned that she went on to conduct a formal study on male thought patterns, which became For Women Only.

And therein lies the key: the study is scientifically done. The answers are statistically significant, though there is intentional bias; she specifically polled Christian males who are or have been married. While she does let her faith show in some of her solutions (and in the fact that she only polled Christian dudes), the stats are valid no matter what. This book isn’t “Is it right and good that males think this way?” It’s not “How do we help males think differently?”

It’s just a “This. This is what your man is probably thinking. This is how he would answer that trick question if he could be sure you wouldn’t throttle him.” What you do with that information is up to you, though she does provide tips for your consideration.

Similarly, after a time Feldhahn noticed there was a demand for a men’s version of the book. She and her husband went off polling Christian women, creating For Men Only, a little book that has the answers to those trick questions dudes wish they could ask their wives, but know perfectly well the answer they got wouldn’t be worth much.

It’s pretty good. I have a quibbles with the conclusions they draw from their data, but the data is RIGHT THERE, so you can, and should, draw your own conclusions as needed. I’d do the same with For Women Only, as well.

I’d recommend these books over some of the other marriage books on the market for that reason, actually. While I love some of those other books, they say the same things as these two, but the other books do it without providing much non-anecdotal support, either scientific or biblical.

These books aren’t going to change the face of feminism. That’s not their point. They are neither books about how men and women ought to feel about one another, nor are they books about how to make men and women change their thought patterns. They are books describing people as they are now, leaving the course of action up to the reader. And that’s why they are so important.

Published in: on February 14, 2014 at 10:41 pm  Leave a Comment