Yesterday I posted a video that is a promotion of sorts for a book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. I first saw this video two weeks ago at our first staff devotion time (every Wednesday afternoon) of the new school year. The coordinator for devotions this year played the video and introduced our theme for the year: “gratitude.” I was quite captivated by the video and I was pleased to hear that the video was a prelude to a book (since I love books, after all).
[love the cover, by the way!]
So, she briefly described the book but her main point was using the book for a jumping off point to focus on gratitude–especially gratitude for the seemingly mundane things in life–for this school year. We were all given notebooks in which to start our list of 1000 Things (this came from the book) and she said we would call them our Say Sos from “let the redeemed of the Lord say so…” found in Psalm 107 (this title was her idea…not from the book). Anyway, that’s the context of how I came to know about this book (in a nutshell).
Well, even though we weren’t going to read the book as a staff (just using it’s idea to record our gratitude) I decided to check into it further. The first thing I typically do when wanting to know about a book is go straight to Amazon…I love the reviews there. And once I got there it certainly didn’t take me long to see that their is a bit of controversy surrounding this book. A few reviews in and I could already see that many out there didn’t appreciate Voskamp’s writing style…apparently it’s quite lyrical and poetical. This didn’t bother me much…I can handle creative writing. But then I started to see that quite a few people have taken issue with some of the content of the book, in particular the last chapter. I then did what anyone would do…went straight to Google and typed in “reformed book review 1000 gifts.” Wait, is that not what you would have done?? Well, I thought this might be the best way to quickly find some like-minded individuals to myself (that was my goal, anyway) that have read and reviewed the book. You can’t just trust any ‘ol book review out there, you know. Well, I found quite a few things out there. Here are a few if you care to peruse them…
Review #1 from reformationtheology.com
Review #2 from Effectual Grace
Review #3 from Sola Sisters
Review #4 from bygracealone.net
Review #5 from Just Jules
Review #6 from Christianity Today
Review #7 from the Berean Library
Review #8 from No Ordinary Faith
Some of these reviews were adamantly against the book while some just cautioned against a few of the underlying (although maybe unintentional) ideas in the book. (I am not necessarily endorsing any of these sites, reviewers, or reviews–this is simply just what I found.) Universally I seemed to find the most offense taken with the last chapter “The Joy of Initmacy.” Apparently Voskmap’s language leans too much to the sensual for some people. There are also cries of “mysticism”, “panentheism”, “universalism” and many other -isms.
So, what did I do? Well, I decided to read it of course. Just as with The Shack, 23 Minutes in Hell, Blue Like Jazz and more, I am just drawn to controversy over books. I like to be in the know. When I finish the book I will post my thoughts.
Meanwhile, you can read the first chapter of the book here.
Also, Voskamp responded to the controversy over her book on her blog in this post. (Unfortunately, at this time, this link is not working and I have not yet been able to read her response–hopefully this will be fixed soon.)
Were you aware of this book? The controversy? Have you read it? Liked it? Disagreed with it? Let me know your thoughts…