Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Review

I have agreed to occassionally review a book for Thomas Nelson publishing. Here's my latest review on the book; Finding Purpose Beyond Your Pain by Paul Meier and David Henderson, both Christian psychiatrists.

When I sent off for the book, Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain, I was looking forward to reading it. I’ve known about one of the authors (Paul Meier) for years and have enjoyed hearing him on a radio show. He gave very practical advice. As a pastor I have had the opportunity to counsel many people through painful episodes in their lives and I was looking forward to the insights that two Christian psychiatrists would bring to the issue. But the book was a bit of a disappointment to me. They underplayed their psychiatric knowledge and overplayed on their biblical knowledge so what the book ends up being is good common sense wisdom that might come from most seasoned Christians. It’s not a bad book. I’m sure that it will be helpful to many. But it’s not the in-depth look at the issue of pain that I was looking for. As a result, I felt like it slipped into Christian cliché at times, giving the standard answers that I’ve heard all my Christian life. Again, that’s not necessarily bad…I was just hoping for a fresh perspective from two doctors.

The book is broken into seven parts, each focusing on a different pain with four chapters per issue. The seven pains discussed are; injustice, rejection, loneliness, loss, discipline, failure and death.

Dr. Meier occasionally broke into story telling about his life which I found very engaging. I wished he had spent more time drawing on his personal life experiences rather than both doctors spinning a variety of anecdotes in each chapter.

If you are a relatively new believer this book might be just what you are looking for. But for more mature believers I think it will leave you wanting more.