Book Review: Love, God

Love, God by Deborah J. Simmons-Roslak and Linda J. Orber. Resource Publications; Wipf and Stock Publishers. Paperback. 179 pages. (c) 2018. ISBN: 978-1-5326-1750-8

Love, God is a devotional book. The format is simple and should work well, in theory. First, it uses quotes from various writers and philosophers to begin each entry. Next is a short reflection on the topic of the day, followed by a scripture verse. Following the reflection, each day’s devotional has a “word from God” in the form of an affirmation to the reader, followed by a guided meditation. Finally, there is space at the end of each day to write a personal reflection.

In theory, this is an excellent format. I had high hopes for this book because it is hard to find a daily devotional book that is not insipid or shallow in its content. In its design, there are many aspects that I endorse wholeheartedly. But I found that what it was missing took away from the content and the work of the editors/authors.

The book has several drawbacks. First, there is no table of contents, and no  index of authors, scriptures or topics. In addition, the quoted authors’ work is not cited nor footnoted, so the reader can’t look up the quote in context. And, it is considered good scholarship to always cite one’s sources. I can also imagine wanting to go back and find a particular quote or meditation, and have to scan every page until I did. 

I was also stunned at the “Bibliography” and its lack of published works. It lists only websites such as azquotes, brainyquotes, goodreads and… Pinterest. PINTEREST? Yes. Pinterest. If I had a college student submit something to me with this level of scholarship, I’d flunk them. And if I were presenting this material for a group devotional time, I would want to be able to share where the content is published.

The authors and philosophers who are quoted represent a cross-section of Christianity from the more traditional school of thought. Thomas Merton (6 entries), Meister Eckhart (4 entries), and Anthony de Mello (3 entries) are among the more familiar. Inspirational selections are also included from writers outside of Christendom such as Rumi, Gantama Buddha and Swami Vivekananda. 

Scripture passages were taken from the NIV and New American Bibles. As a result the phrasing is a little stilted, and God is always gendered as male. (I have years of practice overlooking this shortfall, but as a reviewer, I feel I need to mention this.) 

If one can overlook these shortcomings (which I do not consider trivial), the overriding theme of the book is one of Divine acceptance and welcome. In a world where God is used to judge, incarcerate and divide us, I welcome the opportunity to hear words of affirmation and comfort.

I recommend this book with the caveat that the lack of citations and indexing can hamper the fullest application of its intended use. Perhaps in future editions, the publisher will require an update. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided this book without cost from the publisher and was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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