Devotional Guide


Pat, underdeveloped Bible lessons that promise quick conflict resolutions.

Christians fighting against secret grievances can get help from the Scriptures and their faith, according to this debut devotional guide.

After feeling overwhelmed with her divinity studies, Saddler-Reed took a course on managing conflict. It inspired her to write a book for Christians who are battling negative thoughts and emotions regarding their faith—struggles that she says they often hide out of shame for not conforming to a steadfast or serene ideal. After the book’s acknowledgements and introduction—a sort of minitestimonial that’s also the longest section of the book—there are 25 devotions and a bibliography at the end (containing only one work, the King James Bible). The devotions describe conflicts within oneself, with others, and with God. Themes include “Conflict with Those of Like Faith,” “Impatience,” “Conflict in Marriage,” “Congregational Conflicts,” and “Bitterness.” Others are less specific, such as “Conflict in Life.” Each is short—most are two paragraphs long—and sandwiched between verses from Scripture, followed by two pages reserved for the reader: one labeled “Reflection” on which to jot down thoughts and feelings, and another labeled “Resolution.” Readers may use the “Resolution” page, Saddler-Reed says, “to see how God’s word can apply to the conflict(s) you may be experiencing in your life and what you can do to resolve these conflicts.” However, there’s no table of contents or index to help the reader find specific topics. Some conflicts are vague (“Victory in the Mist [sic] of Conflict”), and the advice is oddly terse. Saddler-Reed introduces important issues, such as discouragement from those one is trying to help, fear of aging, and how modern Christians can split hairs over religious practices, just as early Jewish and Gentile followers did. However, she rushes to reassure readers with examples from the Bible without adequately fleshing out how these verses apply to modern lives. Crucial advice regarding losing loved ones, for example, invokes Jesus without making him seem real, although Saddler-Reed constantly emphasizes a God of love.

Pat, underdeveloped Bible lessons that promise quick conflict resolutions.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-2901-6

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2016



This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955


A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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