ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS BE: by Tom Caldwell


On the Path to Fulfilled Personhood
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A minister catalogues the qualities needed to live a spiritually rich life.

In this Christian self-help guide, Caldwell outlines 26 characteristics (one for each letter of the alphabet) individuals should strive to achieve in order to realize the full potential of their lives. He shows how the pursuit of each quality–adventurousness, enthusiasm, openness, zeal, etc.–not only leads to personal satisfaction but a life closer to God. Living life to its utmost and realizing one’s full individual potential, Caldwell argues, will bring readers in line with the full glory of God’s creation. Not, as others have insisted, the fearful adherence to rules and commandments. The author illustrates these qualities and how they are evident in daily life with fables, poetry, hypothetical scenarios and anecdotes from his own life. Those who consume Caldwell’s book in one sitting may find his list of worthy characteristics a tall order, particularly if the volume’s seemingly simple, Zen-like title is what initially appealed to them. Indeed, he states in his conclusion that these 26 traits are not an exhaustive list, but rather that the A-to-Z format simply offers starting and ending points. But there is much continuity among the 26 qualities he describes, which reinforce and complement one another. Readers, however, may find it more helpful to read and meditate upon one or two chapters at a time. Caldwell does a good job of showing how one might encounter or embody these qualities in everyday life, but some of his illustrative anecdotes are more compelling than others. Although the book’s structure is somewhat gimmicky (as many self-help books tend to be), Caldwell’s advice is deeply grounded in serious and sincere theological study, encompassing both ancient scripture and more contemporary religious analysis. For those wishing to pursue further spiritual inquiry, the author’s footnotes at the end of each chapter provide ample suggestions.

The ABC’s to living a fulfilling life.

Pub Date: March 26th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1425743093
Program: Kirkus Indie
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