Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Love Well by Jamie George

George knows that many Christians are not living the abundant life Jesus promised. They experience shame, fear and hopelessness that is often paralyzing. He uses his own story as a backdrop for encouragement to start moving forward.

He encourages us to know and be known, to experience love deeply and give that love away. He suggests we open our eyes and do something new. We are to speak out our shame, set boundaries, recognize the value of suffering, listen to others' stories and be vulnerable with our own. We are to forgive and stay open to connection.

I have mixed feelings about this book. George tells readers what to do but there is very little on how to do it. He gives us twelve actions to take to get unstuck. “Speak out shame,” “feel through your pain,” and “be vulnerable with your story,” are just a few. But we are left to our own devices as to how we are to do that. George shares many stories from his own life, especially that of his troubled marriage. He and his wife went to counseling and he relates many of the lessons he learned and how he grew through the experiences. He then encourages us to do the same. For me, there were just not enough practical suggestions as to how we could have the same kinds of healing experiences he had, yet without the intervention of a counselor. Some of the actions he asks us to do have been the subjects of entire books themselves, such as “set boundaries.”

This is a very personal book in that George reveals much about his own struggles and those of his wife, especially in their marriage. At times I felt a little uncomfortable with his revelation of a marital problem. I almost felt like I was voyeur, seeing something too personal to be made public.

George tells lots of stories. Many are about himself but some are Bible stories. His retelling of the story of Joseph is some twenty seven pages long. As a Christian who has read the story many times, I have to admit, I did skim over some of it. New Christians may appreciate the lengthy retelling of a biblical story but seasoned Christians may not.

The design of the text is interesting. In the advanced reading copy I received, there is much empty space. The print size is larger than normal and there is extra space between the lines. There are also double spaces between the paragraphs and the way the text is written, there can be up to thirteen paragraphs on a page. (Page 220 has 110 words. Another book I'm reading, with regular type and line spacing, has around 330 words per page.) Perhaps I'm being picky, but with regular type and spacing this book would have been 50 to 70 pages smaller.

Jamie George founded The Journey Church in Franklin, Tennessee, in 2006 as a safe haven for the “religiously wounded.” George is co-authoring a curriculum with novelist Karen Kingsbury. He lives with his wife and four children in Franklin, Tennessee. You can find out more at http://jamiegeorge.com/.

David C Cook, 288 pages.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through the Icon media Group for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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