12 Rules for Life – Book Review

I read another self help book – so help me! That is 2 for this year! I will not read another again! Most likely. This one is by Jordan Peterson. Like all self-help books, it has a lot of really good ideas and I will share with you some of the ones I can remember from the top of my head in just a moment. But first I want to say that all of these kinds of books are just things these authors have unintentionally and sometimes intentionally borrowed from Scripture. And that which isn’t borrowed from Scripture is self-exalting and places a huge burden on your own volition and will instead of drawing strength from an outside, eternal, non-crazy source, like GOD!

In regards to the book, Jordan Peterson does do a good job in pointing out obvious things adults should be doing. Like cleaning after themselves, taking their pills, owning their mistakes. He also has a good section on handling suffering and anxiety,  Although, Mr. Peterson does make a good case for believing in God or acting as if there is a god to those who don’t believe, he is not a good theologian. He draws upon the words of Scripture as one would draw from Aesop’s moral stories. He quotes many good practices from many religions and makes a case for getting our morality from a “higher” source. This is what most frustrated me from the book. Why is a Buddhist or a Muslim moral or even an atheist? It is because there is a benefit to that morality – less pain, better spiritual standing with your deity, better quality of life, etc. So when he includes Christianity as a good thing because of the benefits or less consequences or more peace etc, he destroys the Gospel and the true meaning of being a Christian. Yes, we strive for obedience, but not because it is beneficial (although, we will take those crumbs!) but because we have Him already! We have assurance and a hope that transcends this life, so we live like it! Its an overflow of our reality, not a behavioral checklist to get something or win approval.

These are somethings I remember from this book:
1. If you are going to be anxious (i.e. sin), set an allotted time to be anxious and to worry. Yes, you wont gain anything, but make a list during that time of what you can do. Worry for that allotted time and then stop worrying. This prevents you from worrying at night before going to bed and losing sleep because you have already worried during the day. (I’m not a big worrier, but this sounded reasonable)

2. Take your darn pills. Although, he uses the other word, I really liked this. I struggle taking my medicine. For no reason. I just don’t take them. I forget and doing that can cause havoc in my body. In his book, he just plainly states to take them. Americans are the worst in taking their medicine and there is absolutely no reason not to. So whenever I get the thought that I will just take my medicine later, I can hear Mr. Peterson’s words clear, “just take your da*n pills!”. So I do. Simple right?

3. Before you try and clean up the mess of others, clean your own room! In all senses! A good quote, very Biblical.

4. Men and women are different. Women love strong men and men like pretty women. In other words, men should not be afraid to toughen up, to explore and stop whining. And women, should not be afraid to be homemakers, take care of themselves and be sweet.

5. Have one foot in “order” and another in “chaos”. Do not be a complete organizational dictator and also leave room for spontaneity and adventure. The balance of these two is what makes life fun.

6. If you don’t like your children sometimes, others don’t either. Guide your kids to be likeable, it is not fair to them to allow them to act like monsters. Other people will hate them because of their behavior and it is your fault for letting them get away with it. Not acting like a monster will help them make friends and will win praise from adults. This will make them feel awesome about themselves

There were other things in there that were good, but these are just what I could remember at this moment. I think I am going to not recommend this book though because it is just another self-help book and as Christians, there are so many other sources to help in our walk.

If you are needing help in any area of your life, I do want to recommend Rick Thomas’ website.  He has a limitless collection of great articles to help you in any area in your life. All of which are Christ-centered and Gospel-soaked!

 

A Romantic Puritan

anne

It was so pleasing to find out that New England’s first published writer in the colonies was a woman named Anne Bradstreet.  Anne was born in March of 1612 in England, but later immigrated to Massachusetts. Anne was a Puritan, was well educated, knew several languages and wrote poetry. She published several books containing her poems.

The book I read by her is called “To My Husband and Other Poems”, and I loved it! The way she describes the love she has for her husband in several different poems is just magical. She misses him, she longs for him, she aches for him! Oh what beauty in her words! She is a woman who loves being married. She is a woman very well settled in her role as wife. She is satisfied in her husband and in her life and in her faith and the words and rhyme she uses embrace her station. There are also poems to her God, and His attributes. And sadly there are poems she wrote expressing the pain of losing children and then grandchildren. She does so well in representing her feelings perfectly, not forcing or clashing words in her rhyme. The flow of her words are pure and fluid and I could feel her sadness, love or joy in her poems.

Unfortunately due to Hollywood and other forms of entertainment, Puritans are painted in a very stoic and gray light. This is so not so with Mrs. Bradstreet. On the contrary, she is explosive in her adjectives and full of heart and raw emotions in her writings. She is passionate and intimate in her relationships. She is boisterous in her praise of God. She is free in her worship, free in her love for her husband, children and family and free to express herself in her losses and gains. Nothing in her poetry gave me the feeling of a timid woman oppressed by her circumstances. Nothing in her writings was suppressed or muted.

I recommend this book to any one who loves poetry or wants to see into the life of a Puritan woman. Mrs. Bradstreet mainly writes about her life. This book is like a journal in poetry form.

I leave you with this sigh-inducing poem by her:

To My Loving Husband
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay;
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more we may live ever.

The Illuminator – Book Review

This book begins with John Wycliffe and quickly had me hooked because of this. The setting is in the millumination 2id 1300’s and we find ourselves in the dark ages. The Word of God is only in Greek or Latin and Wycliffe dares to give it an English voice. How exciting! Unfortunately, the plot quickly disintegrates from there and turns into a convoluted love affair, thankfully not involving Wycliffe.

The writing style and descriptions were done well, but the plot wasn’t that intriguing. The problem I had was that I was just hoping there would be more history on Bible translation, on the wars going on, on the kings making havoc, or on the church’s darkness than the love interests of the illuminator or the crazy sayings of a female hermit. Oh well. This is what happens when part of your reading challenge is to read a book from an author you have never read before.

An illuminator was the person who drew pictures in Bibles. I spent some time looking at these exquisite pieces of art and was amazed at the craftsmanship. I also found that there is a new Bible out called the Illuminated Bible – specifically for those who journal and write a lot in their Bibles. If you are interested in knowing more about this Bible click here. illumination 3

I recommend this book to those who like romantic historical fiction. If you like Ken Follet, you will like this book. There wasn’t much history in it unfortunately.