“The first decision you need to make as you put down this book is this: What do I really love? The second goes with it: What will I kick to the curb?”
And Todd D Hunter, Founding Pastor and Bishop of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Costa Mesa, California, encourages us to kick temptation to the curb and purse a wholehearted love of God in its place as he outlines some very practical yet historic ways of dealing with temptation.
Writing in a caring but honest style, Hunter takes recent research from George Barna which indicated a majority of Americans admit to dealing with “noticeable and debilitating temptation to anxiety or worry, and the fear and dysfunction that usually come with it;” are “stuck in habits of procrastination” and “simply cannot do what needs to be done in a timely manner;” and are “often or sometimes overwhelmed by the temptation to eat too much.” While between forty one and fifty percent survey face the temptation to “overuse social media” or that older generations “cannot tear themselves away from their phone and laptops;” and are also “tempted by laziness or by not working as hard as reasonably expected.”
Now you might be asking, “These are temptations? I thought temptations were things like lust, drunkenness, and the like not social media or overeating?”
Well, there is an obesity problem in America isn’t there? And there are issues with workplace reliability and productivity, correct? And what about the people who are terminated because of what they post on Facebook or Twitter about their jobs, companies, and supervisors?
Hunter responds to the Barna findings with the central suggestion that “disordered desires” are the core problem when it comes to the issue of temptation, and I believe, links such disorientation to character shortcomings and the need for a deeper, and more spiritual resolution and ultimately longer term approach to resolving these ever growing personal issues in our contemporary life.
Our Favorite Sins: The Sins We Commit and How You Can Quit, published by Thomas Nelson, takes the reader on a journey into the soul of a contemporary person with composite reflections about Anxious Annie, Procrastinating Preston, Eating Eddie, Media Mary, and Lazy Larry and the offers “seven modern and futile ways of thinking about and dealing with temptation.” And he leads off the list with “underestimating the power of desire” while going on to challenge the view of “keeping it real” and failing to admit that we “are prone to wonder” among other attitudes and mindsets used to combat temptation.
Hunter then goes on to suggest ancient ways and practices of the Christian faith such as solitude and silence and then challenges the lie temptation gives out for us to believe and bite on. And along the way he unfolds the rich liturgical tradition that he adheres to and shares how it has helped him deal with misdirected desires that he has battled with throughout his life.
What I like about this book ultimately is that while he roots his practice of disciplined resistance to temptation in historical Christian practices and faith, he does so in a way that is not “preachy” but helpful, practical, and hopeful. And while a reader may not agree at all with Hunter’s views, I think that to dismiss his thoughts as too religious misses the point. For what Hunter is addressing, at least to me, is that temptation is a character issue which he argues by asking “What if pursuing the transformation of our inner character is the best way to reorganize life, to live well, to accomplish life’s tasks and responsibilities with peace?”
In my head I keep a list of about 12 books that I constitute as a personal core library. Most of them deal with the issue of the inner life which can also be called the issue of character. This book has joined that list of twelve.
I rate this book an ‘outstanding’ read.
Note: I was given a ePub copy of this book from Booksneeze, Thomas Nelson’s blogger review program in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive view.