Thursday, 15 March 2012

A Controversy

The bloggirls here at Altogether Separate recently posted a review and hosted a giveaway of Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. A couple of us were in the middle of reading it and really loved what we were getting: encouragement, wisdom, and beautiful writing.

However, it has come to our attention that this book is actually rather controversial, and in the interest of our readers we wanted to make sure all of you knew that we were featuring this book in a good light because of the points emphasized in this post: seeing beauty in even the most mundane and painful of circumstances, praising God every day, living in the fullness of joy.

Ann's writing is ambiguous in many places, and has been interpreted by some as panentheistic (for more on this, you can read this in-depth examination of the book); the romanticism and sensual terms that Ann uses to describe her relationship with God are offensive to some.

Every popular author is going to have his/her naysayers, and in a work that puts forth some theological views there is bound to be a lot of discussion in Christian circles, on both sides of the issue. If you are a new Christian, or if you have not had much experience in reading the scriptures or studying apologetics, then it may be best for you to steer clear of this book entirely.

For all of the theologically questionable bits in OTG, there are some wonderful messages (for one writer's commentary, see this article), but here is a question that we should all consider: how can we discern spiritual truth when there are so many sides to so many issues? I have heard great praise for OTG from sources I know and trust, and yet there are also articles and blogs which say potential readers should "run for their lives."

How do you decide which books to read, which movies to watch, which sources to trust? How can you know when to keep the baby and throw out the bathwater, and when to stay away from something altogether? 

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