Sunday, November 9, 2008

Seven Deadly Sins

I love having time to read for pleasure (and learning, and self-development)!

Still Deadly: Ancient cures for the 7 sins is a collection of short essays edited by Andrew Cameron and Brian Rosner. Each chapter consists of a Christian reflection on and response to one of the (in)famous “seven deadly sins”, based on the work of a particular historical Christian figure; the chapter titles are: Luther on Greed, Augustine on Lust, Basil of Caesarea on Envy, Clement on Gluttony, Aquinas on Anger, Reinhold Niebuhr on Pride, and Calvin on Sloth. I picked up my copy at CMS Summer School in January, and have finally made time to read it.

The prose is academic, but in very readable style. The historical opinions are carefully considered in light of Scripture (compare Acts 17:11). The result is a challenging and at times confronting look at human nature and my own sinful attitudes and behaviour. But I found this book helpful and enjoyable, as well as challenging. The authors use their historical sources to provide a positive and encouraging approach to countering temptations and following God whole-heartedly.

Recommendation: Academic, but an easy read. Humour aplenty. Just be ready to hear God speaking to you as you read…


I recently read Boundaries and Boundaries with Kids by Drs Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I must admit, I was sceptical at first, when Laetitia recommended them to me. More pop psychology I can do without, thank you!

But I was pleasantly surprised. Indeed, I learnt just how good my parents were at teaching me good boundaries. Thank you, Doris and Munro! The authors are Christians, and their advice is soundly based on biblical principles. They deal with the sticky questions of how forgiveness, boundaries and consequences fit together (“I forgive you, but that doesn't mean I will allow you to continue to hurt me”). They give suggestions for responding to others who don't respect your boundaries. And they write in clear and accessible language without fancy psychological terms.

The Kids book I found especially helpful for my role as a teacher. Although the focus is not specifically on the age group I spend most of my time with (perhaps I should read their Teens book), their advice was still very useful and directly applicable to my interactions with students in and outside the classroom. Much food for thought!

Recommendation: A must-read. Should be compulsory for beginning teachers.