Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ooze Review: About You

Every few months I get an opportunity to review a book for the with a bunch of other bloggers. I grabbed this selection based on the subtitle. The book is called by About You by Dick Staub. The subtitle reads: Jesus didn't come to make us Christian; Jesus came to make us fully human.

Given the recent declaration by Anne Rice, this caught my eye. There are a lot of Christians out there feeling uncomfortable with the institution of church and are wondering what a faith outside of the Christian subculture can look like. I assumed I was getting a book that would dive into those kinds of questions.

I should have researched a little more.

This book isn't about that. The title was a dead give away. This book is about you.

Which means it was not at all written for me. It states in the first paragraph:

"Would you like to make sense of your life? Do you want to achieve your potential greatness?"

I have never read a book by Anthony Robbins or Joel Osteen, but I bet they sound a lot like that.

Soon after the author writes:

"Perhaps your life has unfolded ideally and just as you planned. But for most of us, life deals us some serious blows and detours."

And that is who this book is for ... and why I am hesitant to critique it too much. It could be that a book like this is just the "shot in the arm" a person who has been beaten down needs. They need to hear about how they have a great design and destiny. For myself, the only thing I might add to my life is a 7 figure income (or six would be fine... heck, I'd even take a high 5).

My only direct critique is that the author, for some reason, feels the need to make disparaging remarks about science in one of the chapters.

"Science can make truly great progress in the study of the natural world, but is of little value in examining spiritual, non-material reality."

In a very cliche'd manner, the author sets up a science/spirituality opposition. I believe this antagonism only exists as we create it. I confess that the author's attitude soured me on the rest of the book.

As I said, I am not the best audience to review this kind of a book, however I would wager that for someone in need of the like, there are better options available.


Widsith said...

Thank you for your comment about the author's take on science. As a passionate believer who's also passionate about learning and science, I run across this bias uncomfortably often in Christian circles. So I'll keep your review in mind when if I ever consider reading Dick Staub's work in the future.

Steve H. said...

I find it interesting that you see the quote on science as disparaging or Widsith's suggestion that its bias. I know nothing about this author (so he could be bias) but, at least accori=ding to the single quote, he doesn't seem to say anything I haven't heard a hundred scientists say before...essentially science is the tool to use when examining the physical world but not what you would use when trying to examine spirituality, theology etc.

Andrew said...

I just think that is a limited view of science. Brain research, behavioral research, etc. can all delve into the arena of human interaction and moral perspectives. I think sometimes, some religious folks would like to define that arena as strictly their purview. Alan Alda does a well articulated description of what it takes to seek and define a good life in his latest book, and does so without any kind of religious influence. Sam Harris does a great job of describing a scientific basis for morality here:

In any case, I felt the author was trying to set the two against each other, that to make his case for God giving meaning to one's life, he had to make sure that the science view was de-fanged (again, as if they were oppositional). As Widsith also said, I have seen this approach used. I would hope science and spirituality could be complementary rather than competitive.

Dick Staub said...

I am not trying to set science and faith against each other. Read the whole chapter and you'll see that. This quote is taken out of context. Listen to my podcast on Barbara Haggerty's "Fingerprints of God" and you'll get it (www.the

Dick Staub said...

I honestly was not trying to de-fang science. I think science and theology are moving together. Listen to my podcast-on Barbara Hagerty's "Fingerprints of God" and you'll see that.

Brook said...

Just an outside observation for Mr. Staub from someone who hasn't read the book regarding this review and your response...

first, I'm pretty sure Andrew did read the whole chapter you ask him to read, and second, you shouldn't ask people to go outside the book in question to see how you really feel on a subject you've written on in the book. Can't imagine someone would want to spend any more time reading more work from an author whose work didn't connect with them. at the very least, this review is stating how what you've written in the book comes across to him as a reader. If he's taken you out of context, show how in the book he has (quoting portions of it that contradict what the reviewer claims of the writing), but don't ask him to read (or listen to) something else you've done to understand the book more. this is a review of this book, not of you as a person. perhaps you simply didn't make your position clear in this book (or perhaps, as Steve H seems to indicate, the reviewer misread - or added his own baggage to - what you wrote).

just my 2 cents...

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