About the Book
Book: The Choice is Yours
Author: Barbara Dahlgren
Genre: Religion/Christian Living/Devotional
Release Date: November 2019
Do you stress over making decisions? Does the possibility of making the wrong choice paralyze you? In The Choice Is Yours: 52 Choices for Happier Lives, Barbara Dahlgren explores decisions we face daily. She does so with the spiritual insight and practicality developed through fifty years of ministry. The Choice Is Yours is drawn from Dahlgren’s blog, Barbara’s Banter: taking my faith but not myself too seriously, and is suitable for a devotional or a Bible study tool. Each chapter includes practical suggestions, a key Bible verse, and the option for the reader to jot down their own tips for making better choices in daily life.
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About the Author
More from Barbara
- I was born many years ago in the foothills of the Ozarks in a town with a population of 10.
- While on a mission trip to Nigeria, our children were held captive by the police for a few hours.
- My son was unexpectedly born in a hotel room while we were traveling, so we used a dresser drawer as a baby bed.
- I’ve mounted a camel near the Great Pyramids in Egypt, climbed the Great Wall in China, leaned with the Tower of Pisa in Italy, and been on safari in Kenya.
- While on a teen trip touring the White House, one of my children became ill, so the Secret Service took him outside where he barfed behind a big bush on the White House lawn. It’s the one on the left when you look at pictures of the White House.
Guess what! They are all true. There’s more, but I don’t want to give all my secrets away today.
This is a very difficult review for me to write. As a Christian book reviewer, my goal is to serve the Lord through encouraging Christian authors and promoting their work because it glorifies God by pointing readers to Him. However, when there seems to be conflict in how God is being portrayed and how Scripture is being interpreted, the book does not sit well with me. We are to hold everything up to the light of Scripture, and when something does not align with God’s Word, we should not follow it. I am sorry to say that this was my experience in this case.
Barbara Dahlgren’s “The Choice is Yours” is a collection of fifty-two chapters, each of which represents a choice for living a happier life. Instead, though, I found it full of confusing contradictions and statements that do not reflect the Word of God. In some cases, the author’s wording is not clear, and while I can work out what I’m guessing she meant, I do not think that that is a solid approach to a book intended for devotional or Bible study purposes. The first red flag went up for me during the introduction, and I was hoping that it was only a blip on the radar, but sadly it went downhill from there. In hindsight, I suppose the subtitle (“52 Choices for a Happier Life”) should have invoked caution, because the author’s views on happiness do not agree with those of the Bible. She states that “We think we know what will make us happy, but we don’t. God knows, and God wants us to be happy”, and that “God wants us to do what He tells us to do for our own happiness.” While it’s true that God doesn’t want us to live in gloom and doom, our happiness isn’t His goal. We are to live to glorify Him, and doing so brings joy, which is different than happiness. Happiness isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it isn’t God’s goal, and it shouldn’t be our priority either.
Another bone of contention I have is with the author’s portrayal of Jesus. While Jesus ate with sinners, whom He came to earth to save and which describes each and every one of us, and He was naturally good-natured and pleasurable to be around, I draw the line at depicting Him as someone who participated in revelry, as the author seems to suggest. She also writes that He “emptied Himself of His divinity” when he came to earth, but this is untrue because Jesus was both fully divine and fully human. Kenosis is the term used to refer to Jesus’ self-emptying of His own will to accept God the Father’s will, but Jesus did not lose His divinity.
All of that being said, I cannot in good conscience recommend this book. I am not saying that the author has ill intent. I do, however, feel that the writing is not clear enough to follow without skewing the Bible’s meaning and Jesus’ identity. This could be very harmful to Bible-believing Christians, particularly those who are young or new to the faith, as well as unbelievers because the information is not correct. The way in which “The Choice is Yours” is set up is beneficial, though, with each chapter brief and containing a “Consider this” section to stimulate thoughtful reflection, “Suggestions for practicing this choice”, a Bible verse, and a few numbered lines for the reader to record their own suggestions for putting the choice into practice. If the content were revised and brought into line with Scripture, this could be a convenient book for daily readings to promote study of the Bible itself.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.