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Book Review: RELATIONSHIPS by Ennis, et al.

Following is my second review as a member of NavPress’ blogger review program.

When I teach, I frequently use an illustration of a chest of drawers, suggesting that we often treat the different areas of our life – family, work, play, church, God, friends and more – as separate drawers. We open the work drawer from 9-5 and then close it when we leave the office and open the family drawer. The point being, we often treat our relationship with Christ in much the same way. We open the “God drawer” on Sunday mornings or at Bible study. The goal, then, would be to shift our paradigm from Jesus as another drawer to being the whole chest into which all the other drawers of our life fit.

It is to that goal of making Jesus central in our lives, specifically our relationships, that RELATIONSHIPS: Bringing Jesus into My World by Ennis et al call their readers. I have to admit, even from chapter 1, I was a little on the defensive as it required me to be introspective and honest with myself. The win is that when we are able to grasp how we perceive ourselves and the need to redefine our identity and self-worth in light of God’s tremendous love and grace, we will then be able to truly love ourselves. From that foundation, RELATIONSHIPS digs into the way that we love others, ranging from family and friends to “people different from me” and the pursuit of restoring broken relationships. Because it keeps pushing, you will find yourself continually challenged to peel off the next layer off your heart and lay it bear. The reward is that when you do so, you will experience God’s heart for your relationships.

The one reservation I had about the book was that I found myself continually wondering who the target audience is. At times, it seemed unbalanced. The design and some components felt like the book is targeting teens, but if so, it is much deeper and more challenging than any other study for teens I’ve ever read. Conversely, if the audience is adults, some of the language and design seem teenish. Knowing the audience up front would have helped this reviewer know the lens through which to approach the book.

Warning: To really get the most out of each chapter of RELATIONSHIPS, making sure that you set aside enough time. If you really want to benefit from all this book offers, you can’t skimp or skim.


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