Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Love as a Way of Life"

Book Review  "Love as a Way of Life" by Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman is most famous for his hit book, "The Five Love Languages".   It is a great book and has a lot to teach particularly about how to love your spouse or partner.  This book that our Calvary Book Club read for January teaches us about the characteristics a person exhibits to convey love.  These 7 characteristics are

  • Kindness
  • Patience
  • Forgiveness
  • Courtesy
  • Humility
  • Generosity
  • Honesty
While Chapman writes without expressed faith perspective, for those versed in 1 Corinthians 13 or the teachings of Jesus, you will recognize those ideas coming through.  This book could be subtitled "How to love your neighbor as yourself".   Chapman doesn't stick to couple relationships in this book either, he talks about parenting and the workplace as well making it a great accompaniment to his Love Languages book.

Chapman goes through each of the 7 characteristics breaking each one down further.  What I find most helpful is how Chapman takes a simple trait like kindness and looks at its many facets in how it is lived.  How do you chose to be kind?  What does kindness look like?  What happens when kindness is rejected?  How do you be kind with your attitude, words and actions?

Each chapter ends with making that characteristic a habit and questions for reflection.

If you have struggled with the phrase "love your neighbor as yourself", if you have ever wondered why you do not get the responses back that you desire from others around you then this is a great book for self-reflection.  It will help you look at yourself in the mirror and evaluate how you can be more loving in practical ways.   It will help you have a Jesus-centered world-view that is counter to the growing "me first" world-view around us.