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Voices of the Faithful, By Beth Moore

December 22, 2010
  Voices of the Faithful Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World By:      Beth Moore and FriendsPublished by:  Thomas Nelson

Rating:                        4 on 5 scale (with 3 rated average)

 

This book may engage the reader in many ways, but for Beth Moore it is a 366 day call to missions.  Her primary focus is to inspire people to the mission fields.  Her secondary focus is to offer lived missionary experiences  that will help each reader refresh their life and gain a new start.

Written primarily in narrative style, these life stories and visions are spiritually inspiring.  Lived experiences abound in, and spring from, the accounts of common folk which are compiled and set forth in Beth Moore’s and Kim Davis’ book entitled Voices of the Faithful.  These common folk are Christian missionaries serving diverse peoples across the globe.  Stories of life experiences abound from around the globe.  While most geographic locations for the experiences are within Asia and Africa, there are accounts from South America, Europe, the Middle-East, and cultures.

This encouraging book is designed as a daily devotional.  It seeks to uplift the reader’s life with a series of “new starts”.  While the book itself is styled as an annual new start, we find it is segmented into layers new starts.  In reviewing this book I found each segment extended me a unique form of deep meaning.  Each new start is developed into months and days, and therefore offers the reader a unique way to experience renewal.  Designed as a 366 day reading program the reader is invited each month to begin “anew” by reflecting upon a particular phenomenon of life.  The book is not divided by chapters, but by sections.  The 12 major sections of this book correspond to the months of the year with each month designed to encourage the reader to consider a topic of life.  Topics include the character of God, prayer, grace, persecution, contentment, compassion, and much more.  Within each month’s topic a daily new start in the form of a reflective narrative in the form of a life experience written by one of the many anonymous missionary contributors.    

Moore and Davis, rather than authors may be best thought of as editors who have mapped out the plot of the book while leaving the multiple pathways and scenic vistas to play out in the varying and never predictable life experiences of the many narrative contributors.  Moore adds to the structure of this book through her well written and friendly style; offering straight forward introductions to the book and each monthly topic, or issue of life.

Moore is not shy about her purpose in this book.  She hopes to inspire the desire of readers to act in relation to their faith and enter a mission field.  Moore is associated with Living Proof Ministries, the International Mission Board, and the Southern Baptist Convention.  While she is clear that she hopes to assist in these organizations the reader should not feel restricted by not being directly aligned with any of the groups.  Rather, the reader is freed to consider mission work as they come to understand it in relation to their own religious beliefs.  Moore states that hopes to inspire people to seek mission work through interdenominational arenas using whatever means are at the individual’s disposal.  While inspiring mission work is her primary goal, she acknowledges that not all people are meant to enter missionary work.  For these people, she hopes the book’s “new starts” goal is foremost.  It is through these narratives, accompanying short scriptural readings, and devotionals that she hopes each reader whether a fresh start when life becomes hard.

The book uses several translations of biblical text in presenting daily Bible verses.  These verses accompany each daily narrative.  Scriptural references are brief and allow the reader to remain on focus with the narrative discussion.  The book is not an in-depth study guide, but rather a means to assist the reader in disconnecting from daily life, focusing on God’s Devine blessings by living the experience of another, and reconnecting to our self.  This may help the reader to better focus upon their own place in this great world. At the end of the book are offered several short sections of one or two pages each that ask the reader to consider life, their relationship with God, and how missionary work can be implemented in the reader’s life.

The book is a keeper.  It would be a good companion reader with young children and read as bedtime stories.  Educators may find it helpful.  Classes in sociology might find it useful as a selected reader for student reflections on how cultures are both similar and different, thus enhancing studies in multicultural settings and how to experience diversity.  Educators in Christian Studies and Missions will find this an excellent companion book for courses.  For anyone interested in writing whether for self-pleasure or publishing this book may assist in developing quite time, self understanding, and inspiring them to write narrative in a journal format.  I have ranked this book at 4.5 on a 5 scale.

Reviewer’s Note:  As a blogger for the booksneeze.com book review blogger’s program, I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers for the purpose of writing this review.  Other than this free book and the link to my review, I received no compensation.  This relationship has not influenced my evaluation of this book whether positive, neutral, or negative.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission regulations at 15 CFR, Part 255: “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Reviewer:  Malcolm L. Rigsby is a faculty member in sociology at Ouachita Baptist University, completing his Ph.D. at Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas.  Following his degree at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, he earned his J.D. in Law from St. Mary’s University School of Law (1989), and is a licensed attorney in Arkansas and Texas.  Malcolm also writes documentary film reviews which may be viewed at the Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO) database sponsored by the University at Buffalo Libraries.  He is also a peer reviewer for academic articles submitted for publication in the Journal of Politics and Law, Canadian Center of Science and Education.

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