Wednesday Book Reviews

9 partsNine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic WomenNine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book lifts the veil, so to speak, on the lives of women in Islamic culture. Written by a veteran journalist, it is both fascinating and disturbing. This book is a must read for anyone wanting to understand more about a culture that is still seen as mysterious and exotic by many in the West. Since it is a secular book, this book avoids religious biases and gives a clear picture of what the lives of Muslim women are like in different parts of the Arab world. I highly recommend this as a good read for any who seek to truly understand what goes on in a world hidden from view.

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c through marriageC Through Marriage: Revitalizing Your VowsC Through Marriage: Revitalizing Your Vows by Jim Hughes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is a definite must for pastors, marriage counselors and couples. It will go on my shelf as a great resource for pre-marital counseling and yet it will also be used to counsel couples in crisis. The book covers many subjects that come up in a marriage and tackles them all with tact and solid information from a Christian viewpoint. The author has a high view of marriage and this book will help couples solidify their relationship with their spouse. This would also make a great gift for newlyweds. I know, they will most likely put it on their bookshelf and forget about it, but when the inevitable problems arise, they might just pull it down and use it to help repair their marriage. I highly recommend this a good read.

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On Counseling

It bothers me to hear from fellow pastors that they are not doing counseling, at least, no more than a session or two. It seems that they have bought into the philosophy that they are somehow not qualified to help people with their problems like a “professional” counselor is. This is dangerous thinking. A pastor usually has 4, sometimes 8 – 10 years of formal education in the word of God. Their very calling as a shepherd requires them to use Scripture to help people live productive lives that will be blessed by God. Is this not counseling? How can one justify sending a hurting, confused person that you are spiritually responsible for, from your flock, to an outside person? It is an abrogation of one’s responsibility.

Unless there is a medical problem that is suspected, there should not be a referral to an outside person, especially if the one being referred to isn’t even a Christian! Every problem has a sin component to it. It is the pastors job to help identify the problem. Without identifying the sin(s) contributing or causing a persons problem, remedy cannot be made. The pastor needs to lead them to confess and repent of said sin and make restitution where possible. The person must then be given godly habits to instill and accountability with their lifestyle so that there is not a relapse. This holds true for marriage counseling, family counseling, addictive behaviors, etc.

It is time for pastors to stop being lazy, stop buying into the lie that they are not capable of counseling, and get involved in the lives of their people. It is easy to preach, easy to lead meetings – it is hard work to actually shepherd a people and care for them. To say you don’t know how means you are admitting you don’t know how to take God’s Word and apply it to real life. You need to repent of your laziness and have the integrity to stop calling yourself a pastor or repent of your ignorance of how to use God’s Word and go and learn.

Do you care enough about your people to help them? Do you know enough to help them? Its time to stop playing church, stop playing leader and learn how to serve as God calls us to serve.