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Niche reading

Books | Three &quotwomen's" books are not just for women only

Issue: "Drawing the Line," Feb. 22, 1997

Normally I don't read many &quotwomen's books." But every so often a title comes along that I simply can't ignore--regardless of the niche audience for whom it may have been intended. This winter I actually stumbled across three such books.

The True Woman is Susan Hunt's latest superb contribution to ministry in the modern church. As in each of her previous books about the providential calling of women in the Body of Christ, this new volume is intellectually stimulating, intensely practical, and unswervingly biblical. The real-life stories she tells, the historical precedents she invokes, and the spiritual integrity she evinces all set apart Mrs. Hunt's writing from the all-too-typical evangelical fare of superficial sentimentality. What emerges is a remarkable portrait of God's gracious and sovereign design for women that is both provocatively fulfilling and submissively covenantal.

Treasures of Encouragement is obviously the fruit of many years of personal experience. Sharon Betters doesn't merely theorize about how women can minister to women in the church, she distills the innumerable lessons she has learned as a pastor's wife, a mother, and a gifted Bible teacher into a practical handbook of wisdom, discernment, and theological substance.

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The book is filled with solid constructive principles of encouragement, stories of how simple acts of encouragement have changed the lives of others, and suggestions on how to implement those concepts, lessons, and ideas in our own neighborhoods, churches, and communities. This is the sort of book you'll want to read with a pen and notebook close at hand--it is bound to stimulate your thinking in dozens of ways and provoke your spiritual walk in dozens more.

Running on Empty by Annie Chapman --who with her husband, Steve, has written and recorded beautiful contemporary Christian music--made me laugh out loud, moan with recognition, and wince with conviction. More than a few times I was gripped with an eerie suspicion that she had been eavesdropping on the private conversations of my wife and me. Are you too busy? Prone to burnout? Feel like your minivan is little more than a taxi service shuttling between school, orthodontist appointments, soccer practice, and piano lessons? If so, this funny, insightful, provocative, and creative book is for you.

Sometimes reading outside our niche is the healthiest thing we can do.

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