Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Art of Being Broken - A Review

A Review

“The Art of Being Broken” is a bit of a misnomer.  Since we are all broken, it takes no talent, no artistic ability, to be broken.  It comes with the territory as a part of the human race.  Our brokenness only becomes art when taken into the hands of God and reshaped and remolded into His image.  And that is what the author does in his 200-page guide to living with our brokenness - however that brokenness manifests itself in our individual lives.

I loved the book - it picked up themes of my own life.  Themes that I discovered and lived through 20 years ago (and in reality, I still do), but themes I had to understand if my own family was going to survive.  It was a joy to relive lessons that I learned as my wife and I rebuilt our marriage from the broken pieces we brought into it. Did we ever reach perfection?  No.  But we have learned to appreciate the broken pieces that have become the mosaic that is our marriage (chapter 12).  The book provides 14 views of the brokenness that defines a human’s existence and demonstrates how God takes that brokenness and uses it for his purposes.

Though written as a monograph, the book is better read as a devotional - not a chapter per day, but a section or two per day.  Reading it like a book, with chapters, one will not have the time needed for the lessons that it contains to enter the heart.  Taking the time to read a section or two each day, and meditating on those details, allows the reader’s heart, mind, and soul, to be touched by the author’s insight.

Though I was provided an electronic copy of the book, I could easily have used two paper copies - to be cut and pasted into my illustration file.  Even as I read, I found myself recommending the book as I borrowed illustrations included therein.  One of those, was the “mosaic” referenced above; the other is a test of what we worship - check out what we are sacrificing for and to. Not every sacrifice is worthy of worship, but at the very least it serves as a caution light that calls us to ask “what might I be worshipping with this sacrifice.” (Chapter 11)  Those are two examples (there are more) - the book is full of practical and theoretical examples that will serve to help any broken Christian (hey, that is all of us) grow in his or her faith.

The book should be required collateral reading for the college or seminary course in pastoral counseling. The book would be a wonderful tool for any believer walking alongside others. Whether working the youth or the adult, whether working with singles or families, whether working with newlyweds or the elderly, the book offers valuable insight into the broken souls we all bring to the cross. The Art of Being Broken” comes with a strong recommendation.

The preparation of a small group discussion guide would add additional value to the book - whether those questions were to be used by an individual or a small group. A website hosting an online discussion is available, though this may be too public for some people. However, the website might serve as a useful way to distribute a discussion guide.

This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the author for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Further correspondence with the author indicates that he will make a study guide available prior to the official launch date in June. I will look forward to seeing it in the near future.

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