A guide explores some of the trials facing modern-day Christians.
In this slim book, Bryant (God’s Servant, 2016, etc.) intertwines general observations about the problems facing fundamentalist Christians with more specific autobiographical segments. She tells the story of her spiritual overcompensations, at one point becoming a “prude” with no visible humanity. She recalls having a mental breakdown and being hospitalized in 2000, emerging in a fragile, unformed state and embarking on a “roller coaster” ride in her personal and spiritual life. The theme running through most of her personal tales is one of self-help, of having the strength and perspective to concentrate on herself. “I learned that the best way to demonstrate that I loved the ones who cared for me,” she writes, “was to take care of myself.” And the author keeps her eye on the bigger picture, reminding her readers that when it comes to invidious self-doubt and the envy of others, they should remember always that the only relationship they need to prioritize is the one with the Lord. The author recounts her struggles with self-image in moving terms; she finally reminded herself that she was as God made her. The book’s standout flaw stems directly from Bryant’s unwillingness to extend such understanding, implying at one point that both promiscuity and gay sexuality are the direct results of the “shame, confusion, and guilt” of sexual abuse. When the author herself was the victim of inappropriate fondling, she remembers that she briefly found herself attracted to women until intense prayer created a breakthrough and allowed her to throw off her “oppression.” The rest of the book is more welcoming, reminding Christian readers that they are called to service rather than status. The whole text is rendered in a clear, approachable tone that should appeal to readers who have been encountering obstacles of their own in their faith journeys.
An intensely personal manual outlining both the challenges and the hopes of key aspects of the Christian experience.