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Book Review: Still – Notes On A Mid-Faith Crisis by Lauren F. Winner

03 Feb

Would Be Much More Helpful if Centered on Christ, and Not on Self

Every once in a while I randomly pick a book simply because the topic intrigues me. As a Christian pastor and professional life coach, one of the issues I specialize in is helping Christians transition into what’s been termed as the “new normal.” In other words, what used to be normal in one’s life is gone and lost forever, and for some it becomes a very serious conundrum. What do I do now that I lost my job? My marriage? My kids? My health? My money? And the list and litany of life changing questions demand answers and solutions.

I was hoping that this book would be helpful to me – as a pastor who is transitioning myself – from being a senior pastor – to a life coach; from having five kids at home – to being an empty nester; from having a very comfortable life – to one that is very financially uncertain. As well as a help to those I counsel, disciple, and coach in transition.

The book was interesting, transparent and authentic, well written, worth reading, but in the final analysis – unhelpful and leaves you without the hope that we are offered in Jesus Christ. The most disappointing thing to me was the that the writer never really arrives at answers, nor the hope, and help of the gospel that is found in Jesus Christ. She finds her “answers” in the community of faith, poetry, daily meanderings to varied places, and various encounters with strangers.

Winner drew me in to her world and when I finished the book I wanted to help her. Instead of helping me, I was drawn to come alongside her as a friend, counselor, pastor, and coach. Her understanding of what it means to have a relationship with Jesus appears to be much like that of a teenager trying to get into the “cool” group of peers. I believe that Lauren is sincere, smart, a very talented writer, but she appears to be directionless and lost – and a lost person who has no directions – is ill equipped to genuinely help people who are “lost and directionless.”

I can sympathize and empathize with Winner. I like her – I think we would be good friends. I think she would make a good listener, and empathizer herself. What’s missing is her own security in Christ, in the truth, in the authority of God’s Word, and in the gospel.

The book I would recommend that Winner and anyone else reading this review would devour on the topic Winner addresses is Paul David Tripp’s book “Lost in the Middle: Midlife and the Grace of God.” Whether you are in mid-life or mid-faith crises, Tripp’s book wonderfully articulates the realities of sin, redemption, reconciliation, and redemption in such a way that you can find real grace, hope, and solutions by putting your trust in Jesus Christ and in Him alone for your salvation, and sanctification – resulting in significance, present and eternal security, and life long solutions – for the “new normals” of your life.

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