Category: Book Reviews

Books I’ve read, my personal thoughts as well as the most sections that jumped out to me.

Book Review: The Path Between Us

Book Review: The Path Between Us

Book Reviews

The Path Between Us An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships is Suzanne Stabile’s independently written book following The Road Back to You, which she co-wrote with Ian Cron.

The distinguishing difference is that The Road Back to You is described as a basic primer that introduces you to each of the 9 basic Personalities while The Path Between Us goes more in-depth into how the numbers interact with each other.

What I found most valuable in each of the chapters was the breakdown of these sections:

  • Stabile highlights how each number responds in relationship to each other number
  • Stabile identifies how each number responds in stress and security
  • Stabile identifies each number’s limitations in relationship
  • Stabile identifies how we benefit from relationship with each number
  • In the last two sections, Stabile writes directly to each number and those in relationship with that number with simple prompts:
    • Relationships FOR a number
    • You can
    • But you can’t
    • You’ll need to accept
  • Relationships WITH a number features bulleted points to help someone who is learning how to interact with a certain number better speak their language. For example, “Encourage Sixes to trust themselves more and to take more (measured) risks.” “Point out all the good things they bring to a relationship.”

Relationships are challenging and if there is anything the past three to four years have taught us it’s that we can sit in the same room, listen to the same thing and comprehend completely different points. The enneagram is an excellent tool to help you understand how those you love, work with and interact with see the world.

Most importantly, the enneagram and The Path Between Us is an excellent tool to help you learn how to self-reflect and soften some of those rougher edges that others may not respond to all that well.

Stabile does an excellent job of sharing stories that are relatable even when she’s highlighting some of the stress responses. Her insights into the slight distinctions in numbers is very helpful if you are still trying to figure out your number or wing.

If you are someone who thrives on routine there are many numbers that you will identify with, but for very different reasons. These distinctions are important to note for yourself and as you strive to understand others.

For example: “Nines can easily fall into a routine and stay there without giving much, if any, thought to what might go wrong. Fives like routine because it helps them manage their limited amount of energy. Sixes not only like routines, they find safety in them. But what about numbers who don’t want life to be so predictable? For some numbers, freedom is as necessary to them as security is to Sixes.”

If you’re looking for a book to help you understand the enneagram I encourage you to consider The Path Between Us. It’s my favorite one so far.

Book Review: Try Softer

Book Review: Try Softer

Book Reviews

After months of waiting, Try Softer is finally available to purchase and I cannot wait to tell you about this book. I’ll start with fully disclosing that I’ve known Aundi Kolber for several years through a writing group. However, that only lends to my desire to tell you that this is one of the most authentic books I’ve read in recent years I cannot emphasize enough how important Aundi’s Try Softer presentation is one everyone should consider.

In a time when PTSD is an overused catchphrase that people seem to self-diagnose themselves with, Aundi (a licensed therapist) brings clarity to how our past relationships inform how we learn to engage with people. Her tender reminder that difficult experiences don’t have to become trauma is so simple, and yet seems so opposite of what we hear and allow to occur in most situations.

Throughout Try Softer Aundi uses her personal story as well as those of clients to help the reader identify possible similar experiences. When we understand how our past informs our present we can begin the hard work of moving forward and changing the subconscious habits we’ve unintentionally established.

The best part of this book, in my opinion, is that Aundi incorporates her expertise as a therapist. She takes time to explain possible physical responses to situations we may experience. This is so important because for many of us we’ve learned to deal with conflict by NOT dealing with conflict. That is to say, we compartmentalize our responses in certain situations.

Aundi reminds us that God desires us to engage in relationship with him and others with our whole heart and provides the tools to help us to begin the journey to do so.

So, what exactly does it mean to “try softer”? You can learn more about that directly from Aundi here.

Who should read this book: Everyone who hopes to have healthy relationships.

What age is this appropriate for: The language is a bit complex. While Aundi is nothing but respectful, I think that the concepts may be harder for anyone under 16-18 to process well.

Book Review: Why I Still Believe

Book Review: Why I Still Believe

Book Reviews

It’s been a while since I’ve done a full book review here! I’ve been buried in writing which has left little time for reading. However, there are some books that cross over with work and thankfully I’ve got a few that are worth featuring here as well starting with this one!

Why I Still Believe

For those who feel the ever-present tension between the beauty of salvation and the dark side of human nature, Why I Still Believe is a candid and approachable case for believing in God when you really want to walk away. With fresh and thoughtful insights, this spiritual narrative presents relevant answers to haunting questions like:

  • Isn’t there too much pain and suffering to believe?
  • Is it okay to have doubt?
  • What if Jesus’ story is a copy of another story?
  • Is there any evidence for Jesus’ resurrection?
  • Does atheism explain the human experience better than Christianity can?  
  • How can the truth of Christianity matter when the behaviors of Christians are reprehensible?

In Why I Still Believe Mary Jo Sharp shares personal experiences as a new believer with the Church. She shares about the time her clothes were criticized by the pastor’s wife rather than a simple welcome to our church. She also shares about times as a pastor’s wife and the criticism from congregations that came out of preference rather than theology.

Intertwined in these stories Mary Jo shares her faith journey from atheist to an apologist.

I found Mary Jo’s three ways people view doubt and the explanations around each of the views incredibly valuable. She also points out that doubt is a normal part of a maturing faith. That there is a difference between church culture and Biblical theology.

I love this quote: “Trying to put on my church’s cultural expression of faith made me feel like an imposter, like I was wearing someone else’s Jesus-believing clothes. Yet I had no idea how to find a genuinely fitting faith. And so doubt began to creep into my soul.” p. 26

Additionally, Mary Jo continues to remind the reader that we have to be willing to consider our own hypocrisy and flaws as we engage with the Church in order to have a relationship with God. We are all flawed, all capable of more evil than we’re willing to admit. “To think critically on a matter I’ve got to be open to the fact that I might be wrong.” p. 32

As Mary Jo takes the reader through her faith journey and the beginning of how she founded her ministry Confident Christianity she also addresses many of the common discussion points atheists bring up to support their viewpoints.

The picture of humanity is the story is that we are indeed fallen from our original relational status with God. The result is that our knowledge, intellect, desires, and will are affected, and as a result we constantly dehumanize ourselves and others. We are not going to be able to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps – or, in the language of today, just “follow our dream, speak our truth, show love not hate” – because individually we continue to be the problem. Yet Christianity also pierces the human propensity to hate ourselves. God made us in his own image, so we are of highest value (Genesis 1:26, 31). p.178-179

Mary Jo Sharp Why I Still Believe

I found this book to be full of wisdom from years of hard experiences coupled with humility. Mary Jo’s timely book reminds us all that we are flawed humans created for relationship with a perfect God and other flawed humans.

For many, our experiences in the Church have been that as we’ve questioned church culture we’ve been told directly or indirectly questions revealed a lack of faith. In Why I Still Believe Mary Jo affirms that deepening our relationship with Jesus and our faith in our Creator requires study, exploration, and continued learning. Much of that will include asking questions.

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