Thursday, September 29, 2016

Befriend by Scott Sauls

Befriend: Create Belonging in an Age of Judgment, Isolation,and Fear by Scott Sauls is a timely book for today's world that is becoming increasingly intolerant of others having different beliefs and viewpoints. At one time we could simply agree to disagree, but we are devolving to a culture of name calling and stereotyping anyone who does not fully embrace our own thoughts. Not quite there yet, but this is a perfect time for a book like this to help us see that we can be friends with people who view thing differently...and perhaps even learn from them.

Befriend was written in answer to the question, Is real friendship too risky?" With the increased use of social media, many of us have "friendships" on various social media platforms that may include many people we have never met. Or, we have friends from church, school, work, sports, etc. that we may actually spend physical time with, but, no matter whether in person or via the internet, we do tend to stick with people who are similar to us in thoughts and deeds. Honesty is rare, and we seldom take the time to cultivate a relationship with anyone outside of our comfort zone.

Sauls demonstrates the "Jesus model" of friendship through 21 meditations meant to inspire actively pursuing God’s love through expanding your circle of friends. Jesus had friends that included a wide variety of people, and many did not just fit into His personal belief system. Scott Sauls, teacher and pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, uses each chapter to highlight a segment of people we encounter and examines how a true friendship can be grown.

My thoughts? There were some chapters, I was mentally applauding and yelling, "Preach it!" and then there were a few that stepped on my toes a bit. Would I be his friend in spite of not agreeing with a few of his views? Most likely, yes. I am willing to consider another's point of view, but have a few unshakeable opinions myself. There was one Scripture that we interpreted differently, and one parable that omitted part of the story, but nothing shattering; he merely demonstrated a point with what he used. I am as guilty as anyone else for sometimes gleaning a portion, and no harm was meant by it. Bottom line: in a time and place where we are growing angrier and less willing to compromise, Befriend is a great reminder that we are called to model Christ---not called to get everyone to agree with us or be banned from our presence.  

I received a copy of "Befriend" from BuzzPlant at no cost to myself in order to write a review. I was only asked to give my fair and honest opinion.

BuzzPlant is also offering a copy of "Befriend" to one of my readers. Leave a comment to be entered into the random drawing. Entries must be in no later than Tuesday, October 4th, 2016. 

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