July 19, 2011

The Blessing (Review)

I received a copy of The Blessing by John Trent and Gary Smalley to review, I didn't realize it was an updated version of a book that was originally released more than twenty years ago. When I saw that it was a successful release previously, my expectations were a bit higher going into it than they normally are. That said, I was disappointed in what I read. Not because the parenting/adult blesser material was bad, but because the connection from "the blessing" to the five elements that the authors describe seem to be slightly disconnected from scripture.  This is not to say that the principles they advocate are unbiblical, but rather that "the blessing" is not a unique biblical idea. There are biblical examples that the authors cite to illustrate their five principles - meaningful touch, a spoken message, attaching high value, picturing a special future, and an active commitment - however, not in the way that seems to be described in the book's premise.
I thought that by reading the book, I would learn that in biblical history there was a clear concept known as "the blessing" that simply was lost through time. That this book was essentially a reclamation of something we have forgotten. What this book actually is, however, is as a result of much research done by counselors as to what issues people develop because of a lack of something from their childhood. These things are commonly rooted in the five areas the authors describe, and they also provide assorted stories from scripture that include one or several of them.
A prime example they share is the story of Issac and "the blessing" that was given to Jacob and not given to Esau. Both sons wanted to receive it from their father, but only one could. After describing the blessing and how valuable it then must be for us to similarly give it to our own children, they continue by explaining how the blessing in that case actually isn't a parallel situation to us in modern day. Clearly, the father could only give it to one of them and we should give it to all of our kids.
This book definitely does include good material. I plan on ensuring that the types of ways that we can "bless" our children or show them our love are things that I do to my own. However, conceptually it is no different than me writing a book called "Jesus' Five Step Plan to Evangelize." Could each and every step be derived from scripture and be valuable ideas? Sure. But did Jesus actually create a five step plan? No. That's my issue with this book.
Three stars (out of five).

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