Saturday, January 17, 2009

Book Review “The Healing Path: How the Hurts in Your Past Can Lead You to a More Abundant Life”Dan B. Allender. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press, 1999, 259 p.

Overview—Give a brief overview of the book, including its theme, perspective and approach.

Through case study stories, first person reflections, and philosophic musings, Dan Allendar seeks to guide the reader to a place where he can see the hand of God in the hard places of life. "The Healing Path" is shaped around the Biblical triad of Faith, Hope and Love. Betrayal, powerlessness, and ambivalence lead to the loss of these virtues. The allure of redemption, however, is that God can use my past to awaken these virtues again. Allendar concludes with a section on how to bring the healing path into relationships and into the Christian community.

Critique—Offer a brief critique of the book, including elements of strength and weakness.

The "Healing Path" could have been called "The Honesty Path" for much of Dr. Allendars prescription lies in facing boldly the past pain in your life. I must admit I had a hard time wrapping my mind around this book. I found the use of evocative metaphors ("Who are we? We are the rivulets from many high-mountain springs that merge into a fuller stream rushing down the tumult of a rushing river"?) did not evoke anything in me. I need something more concrete. I kept looking for rubber-meets-the-road practical guidance. And though he shared some very powerful stories from past clients (and finally, one from his own life), I found it hard to relate to his heart-wrenching house hunting trauma!

Application—Offer some specific application to your own ministry— demonstrating the value and relevance of the material in this book.

Allendar was at his most helpful when uncovering the idols of the heart that lie behind many of our struggles. And when I was about to write the book off, he hit me with his chapter of "Inviting Others to Live". In that chapter, Allendar shares a story of an airplane conversation with an electrical engineer that was full of pathos and nerve. If I could learn to courageously probe and interact like that, I would be a better pastor and a better friend. I was challenged to "enter into the stories of others in a way that invites them to embrace the hunger of their heart (dignity) and their flight from God (depravity)".

Best Quote—Be sure to include the page number where the quote can be found.

p. 20 "Each day we either live for God or for other Gods. In each moment of hardship we fear God or man. When we choose to worship gods and fear men our lives will suffer an emptiness and turmoil that is not much different that trying to fill our bellies with dirt. At first we may feel full. But in short order our violation of God's plan will lead to torment"

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