Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Write-Up: Discovering Delight, by Glenda Mathes

Glenda Mathes.  Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God’s Law.  Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014.

In Discovering Delight, Glenda Mathes offers spiritual insights, using as her starting point verses from the Book of Psalms, particularly Psalm 119.  Occasionally, Mathes draws from Reformed Confessions.  As the book’s title indicates, it has thirty-one meditations.

The positive to this book is that, overall, it has good insights.  These insights include the importance of giving one’s problems to God rather than retaliating, how problems can be an opportunity to draw closer to God, and how one should use one’s talents for God’s glory rather than to make a name for oneself.  I found these insights to be edifying.  At times, Mathes raises a profound question, such as how impatience can be appropriate and inappropriate.  There are also times when she acknowledges her own flaws and how love for God’s word is not necessarily automatic but needs to be cultivated.

The book would have benefited, in my opinion, from more anecdotes, which would have allowed Mathes to show the reader what she was talking about, not just tell.  I appreciated her story about how the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” was a reaction against Arminianism, but I would have liked to have seen more anecdotes, perhaps even some personal ones.  That would have made the book more interesting and given it a greater personal dimension.  Moreover, since the title of the book says that it is about loving God’s law, it would have been nice had Mathes shown us what meditating on God’s law is like—-by picking laws from the Torah and showing how they illustrate God’s character, for example.

The book could have been better, but I still felt in reading the book that I was sitting at the feet of a wise teacher, one with a deep love for God.

I received this book from the publisher through Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review.

3 comments:

  1. Now I will need to give "Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing" a much closer look.

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  2. I liked this post by Roger Olson, about how some churches uncritically use hymns that go against their beliefs:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2014/11/how-to-use-hymns-as-teachable-moments-even-when-you-disagree-with-the-lyrics/

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  3. That is a very good post. I like to explain what I know about hymns when I teach, but this is quite limited, and the "hymn stories" type books tend to be superficial and sometimes verging upon hagiography to the point that I don't trust them.

    Of course we can avoid all the problems by choosing songs with no content!

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