My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Review: Life Surrendered: Finding Freedom at the Cross

Life Surrendered: Finding Freedom at the Cross Life Surrendered: Finding Freedom at the Cross by Jessica Herberger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a devotional focused upon the events of Good Friday, with an imaginative reflection to help us obtain a new understanding of the Cross. Told in 16 chapters across four (4) parts, with each chapter devoted to a “little” death (detachment) that we should embrace. Each chapter is a mix of imaginative exegesis of the relevant scripture along a few personal anecdotes. For a devotional with the goal of reimagining the events of Good Friday, there really isn’t a lot that is new here (or even very controversial), but are a few that stand out … such as the observation that Simon (the man pressed into carrying the Cross of Jesus for a time), would have needed to completely reverse direction to do so (something I never really considered before). 

As might be expected, the personal vignettes are hit or missing with my own experience, but they are all short and at least have something to which I can still connect. The chapters conclude with the “Via Dolorosa Way of Grief” (similar to the Stations of the Cross where we follow Jesus from Gethsemane to Golgotha) that is organized into three (3) sections of questions to contemplate: Reflect, Confess and Reconsider; to help the reader connect with the chapter topic. This is probably the only part that is somewhat unique amongst similar devotionals … so if you are not into reflections questions, this book is probably not for you. That said, for the rest of us, this book provides the reader with a wonderful place to start on their meditation on the Passion of Christ during Holy Week. In addition, be sure to check out the link at the end for the online supplemental materials …

Part One - Foundations of Freedom
- Chapter One: The Freedom of Releasing Control (Death of Self)
- Chapter Two: Letting Go of the Battles That Aren’t Yours (Death of the Fight)
- Chapter Three: You Don’t Need to Respond (Death of the Rebuttal)

Part Two - Not All Letting Go is Good
- Chapter Four: When All Seems Lost (Death of Hope)
- Chapter Five: Crowd Control (Death of the Compassionate Crowd)
- Chapter Six: Seeking Truth (Death of Reason)

Part Three - Reimagining
- Chapter Seven: Who Am I? (Death of Entitlement)
- Chapter Eight: Care of Others (Death of Distress)
- Chapter Nine: Advocating Forgiveness (Death of Revenge)
- Chapter Ten: It’s Just a Name (Death of Earthly Titles)
- Chapter Eleven: Reinventing Relations (Death of the Ties That Bind)
- Chapter Twelve: Implausible Timing (Death of Presumptions)
- Chapter thirteen - Upending Traditions (Death of How It Was)

Part Four - Beaty for Ashes
- Chapter Fourteen: Certainty (Death of Doubt)
- Chapter Fifteen: Boldness (Death of Fear)
- Chapter Sixteen: Fearless (Death of the Fear of Death)

Postscript - Beauty in Dying (Death of a Loved One)
Timeline of Good Friday Events

I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
#LifeSurrendered #NetGalley.

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.