Monday, June 5, 2017

Review: Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World by Karen Ehman

Synopsis: Our culture is self-obsessed – in our schedules, relationships, and especially online. (Can you say selfie?) But in this near-narcissism, people are less content than in decades past. Why? Because we forgot the joy that comes from putting others first. Doing so requires us to live alert, listening for “heart drops,” hints from those in our lives who need a helping hand or a generous dose of encouragement. Living alert lifts our own spirits, showing us that blessing others blesses us even more. Listen, Love, Repeat offers biblical teaching and suggests doable actions that are simple, heart-tugging, sentimental, even sneaky and hilarious. This message:
 • Presents scriptural examples of those who lived alert, including Jesus, who noticed those who least expected to be seen.
 • Explains the role of good works for followers of Christ. They aren’t our ticket to heaven but they are our marching orders on earth.
 • Gives creative ideas for showing love to friends and family, and suggests practical ways to reach out to the lonely, the marginalized, the outcast, and the odd duck. Additionally, it helps you comfort the grieving, showing what you can do when you don’t know what to say.
• Provides inspiration for blessing the “necessary people” in your life, those often-overlooked souls who help you get life done every day, and teaches you how to hug a porcupine by genuinely loving the hard-to-love.
 As we scatter love, we create a safe space where we can openly share the gospel. We get to see lives changed right before our eyes. Most importantly, Listen, Love, Repeat will enable you to live a life that is full of kind deeds, not to selfishly shout, “Hey! Look at me!” but to humbly implore, “Will you look at Him?” (from the online description)

Review: This was recommended to me by a woman at church.
I found Erhman’s advice well-stated and important. We do live in a self-centric society and as Christians, this is opposite from how Christ instructs us to live. Erhman’s advice to listen to others, intentionally listen, to learn how to love that person in specific ways, excellent to hear. Her examples should the positive impact we can have just doing small things. Her admonition to not worry about a perfect home but to create  welcoming space is important in the day and age of pinterest and Martha Stewart. Her chapter on loving those who grieve offered important advice and should be heeded by all.
But again, I have the same problem with her work as with most books aimed at Christian women. This book felt like it was only for the White Upper-Class Women in an Emergent Christian Church. Many of her idea cost money, and women with low-incomes are worried just about feeding their own families and keeping a roof over their heads, not whether their towels all match. This felt very rich white American to me, and while that particular demographic will benefit from hearing this advice, it unsettled me.
My other concern is that many of these ideas are highly suitable for Extroverts or Social Butterflies (she admits she is one) but for the Introvert or Socially Shy, many of us would rather crawl across the desert on glass than engage in so much social interaction. Thankfully, she doesn’t condemn those who may not feel comfortable being so social, and even those of us who may quake inside at the idea of speaking to strangers will find good advice here about being intentional towards other people. We don’t need to host large parties, but writing cards, leaving secret gifts and other behind-the-scenes actions are there for us as well.
In the end, there is nothing heretical or untrue, no egregious deviation from the Gospel, and her genuine desire to encourage other to love those around them in evident. 

Bookmarks: 3.5 of 5

Awards: None

ISBN: 978-0-310-33967-0
Year Published: 2016
Date Finished: 5-28-2017
Pages: 251

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