Book of the Month/September 2012

Bite_and_Devour

This is a book for everyone who has been in a conflict, is now in a conflict, or will be in a conflict. Which is to say, everybody.

I appreciate Alexander Strauch very much. This is because he sticks close to the text, which means that you are bound to learn a great deal, even if at the end of the day you differ with some aspect or other. In this book, he assembles numerous passages from the Scriptures on handling conflict — and there are a lot of them — and walks us through them.

He is particularly wise in covering those things that we might think “go without saying.” For example, the first three chapters show the need for acting in the Spirit, acting in love, and acting in humility. Everybody knows that, right? But if we are so smart, why do we so rarely do it? As Mike Tyson once put it, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” We really need these reminders. When Strauch was reminding us of these things, it put me in mind of how much the Bible reminds us in the same way, going over the same things, again and again.

It is astonishing how much of the New Testament is devoted to telling Christians to stop squabbling. When you are reading your Bible devotionally, it is easy to skim over those parts because you don’t know what Euodia and Syntyche were going on about, and since you don’t have a dog in that fight, you think it is not relevant. But if you are actually in a conflict, and you need direction and protection from Scripture, this book is for you.

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