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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Our Favorite Sins

Book Description:
With more than thirty years of pastoral experience, Todd D. Hunter knows that most people-himself included-struggle every day with temptation. All too often, we fail and fall, and some of us are at our wit's end, utterly defeated. What do we do to get a grip on the sin in our life and live like God wants?

There's good news: despite all our failures and shameful "moments after," there really is a way out, a way forward, and a way that draws us closer to the life that God desires for us.

In Our Favorite Sins, Hunter cracks open the problem of temptation and points to practical, biblically based, time-tested solutions. First revealing the role played by our disordered desires, Hunter shows how different temptations trip us up and how we can resist and overcome them, even if we've fallen prey to them for decades. Victory starts with reordering our desires, and the church has given us the tools for the job. Hunter shows us how to use them and start beating the temptations that so often beat us.

Informed by exclusive research from the Barna Group, Our Favorite Sins offers a view that works for any believer wherever they are and no matter how big the battle they're fighting.

My Review:

Hunter spends the first half of the book creating a fictionalized, average Joe or Jane for each chapter.  The character then gives a brief description of the problem he or she is having with a particular sin such as worry, laziness, overindulgence.  Hunter then spends the remaining portion of the chapter explaining how the trait becomes sin, what it really is etc.  I found one chapter to be misleading.  Overindulgence is introduced with Eating Eddie.  Eating Eddie has used food to celebrate or medicate every emotion in his life.  When he became obese he tried several things that each worked for a while but none really lasted.  The author goes on to explain that Eddie was focusing on trying harder to do better an not on the spiritual, whole body problem.   Then the author spends the chapter talking about combating sexual desires.  While both may stem from a similar need to fill an emptiness they are truly VASTLY different.  Being a person who has similar issues as Eating Eddie I thought this chapter would speak to me.  It left me confused instead.

The second half of the book is how to confront and turn from sin.  One of my favorite parts of this section is when Hunter writes, "People have forgotten how to suffer, how to do the right thing and to suffer in silence for it. They think that to NOT act on a desire is wrong, that it's somehow dishonest. ... You DON'T HAVE TO HAVE WHAT YOU WANT! It will not kills you to deprive yourself of it. Try it." (emphasis mine)  I couldn't agree more.  Today we live in a world where "I want it all, I want it all, I want it all and I want it NOW" are not the lyrics to a song but truly a life motto.  Where telling someone that you don't have cable tv or a smart phone causes people to ask if you need financial help.  Credit card debt is at an all time high, homes are being foreclosed on because people just had to have the BIG house rather than the one they could really afford, both parents work so they can afford the toys their kids want.  I think that thought alone, that we don't have to have what we want, taken to heart would lead so many people out of sin.  "You'll see that on the other side of the little death--giving up what you want-- is a larger resurrection of spiritual life!"

This isn't one of those books that you can just sit down and breeze through.  It takes some serious time reading and reflecting.  I don't necessarily agree with all that Hunter wrote, but I will say it got me thinking about the sins in my life, the things that I don't want to die to in order to have the better life.  This book is worth reading, but you may not find yourself wanting to pass it on to a friend.

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