Book Review: Living Close to God (When You’re Not Good At It)

I have to say that this book by Gene Edwards was not my favorite.  I hate to say so because I believe that anyone who feels led to write a book about faith and failure and God and getting there is simply being another mouth-piece for the Lord, and that’s probably a good thing.  But it did lack a certain quality that made this book difficult for me to read.  However, I’ve watched movies, from beginning to end, that weren’t “quality” and still gave them 3 stars on my Netflix account for entertainment value.  So what does that tell ya?  Also, I hate to say I didn’t really like it because having tried to write a book a billion and one times, never making it past the first pages of the first chapter, I know that writing a book is difficult.  So who am I to say?

Nevertheless, this book seemed to ramble, A LOT.  There seemed to be some really good ideas that would’ve been better served by developing them further, but instead they were followed by other ideas that needed developing and so on; hence, rambling.

It certainly was easy to read, grammatically speaking, apart from the disjointedness of thought, but the book could’ve been 30 pages long and no worse for wear.  Much of the book covers what the author himself has done to foster a relationship with the Lord and then repeated.  I do this, this, this, and this which has helped developed this, this, this, and this.  As if by following his steps, rather than other spiritual disciplines of the Christian faith, you’ll achieve closeness with God.  It’s more about following a certain path, his path, than forging one’s own path–which the author seems to be trying to communicate, unsuccessfully–based on Christian principles that every reader can apply as he or she feels led of God.  Therefore, as easy as it might be to read, it seems shallow even though Mr. Edwards seems to be striving for depth.

Gene Edwards also refers to himself throughout the entirety of the book as unspiritual, a spiritual failure, the worst example of a spiritual Christian, etc.  All of his “handles” would prove that he’s not a spiritual failure, so I don’t know if this is an authorship ploy, a way to try to relate to unnaturally spiritual Christians (his term, not mine) helping them feel better about themselves, true/false humility, or whatever.  All I know is that these comments felt rather disingenuous and contrived rather than humble and off-putting, which I assume was his goal, and much like someone seeking a compliment through self-deprecation.  Then again, I really don’t know the author so I can’t say for sure; maybe these comments are entirely genuine.

With all that in mind, I do, however, appreciate the study guides at the back of the book.  It is nice that there are two, one for groups and a separate guide for individual readers.  While I did not take advantage of the Study Guides, I did peruse the questions and they seemed adequate for deeper reflection and introspection.  These may be, in fact, the strongest parts of the entire book.

I really do feel bad for reviewing this book as I have, but as part of Blogging for Books, I feel I need to be honest in my review.  If recommending books to people who might not read very often, and to whom reading is more of a discipline than a desire, I would recommend something more valuable to redeem their effort.  But I do behoove you to check it out for yourself.  Maybe you will find that it strikes a chord in your spirit where it failed to do so in my own.  You can read a short excerpt by clicking HERE and go on to purchase it if you like what you read.  To find out more about the author go to geneedwards.com.

Don’t just take my word for it; check it out for yourself.  I’d hate for you to miss something good simply because of my thumbs-down review.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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