The Blessing of Joy
John Piper tells Christians that the chief end of man is “to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” In his book about how to live out this edict, how to reach our end, our goal, I feel like he’s barking at me. Others have been greatly blessed by Piper’s writing on this, but in reading his book, I felt commanded by someone I had not authorized to have power over me.
In her new book “Enjoy,” Trilla Newbell whimsically invites me to live out this dictate of glorifying God and enjoying God forever. By the time I reached the book’s end, I wanted to do just that. Through art, exercise, nature, food, community, church, and sex (yes sex), I wanted to enjoy God by enjoying the gifts God gives and by seeing my true identity – who I am in Christ. Newbell beautifully writes about disciplines of joy. Where I was repulsed by Piper’s dictatorial tone, I was attracted to Newbell’s playful way of drawing me as a reader into her thought world.
Truth be told, she actually is not inviting me to live out the life of enjoying God. I am a man and Newbell writes for women. I didn’t read the description of the author’s intent ahead of time. I just plunged into the book because I had enjoyed the previous work I had read by the same author. Not until I was well into the sex chapter did it dawn on me that this is a book for women, by a woman. At that point, I felt mildly voyeuristic.
I don’t understand why women from conservative Christian backgrounds feel bound to write exclusively for women. Everything in this book is needed by men just as much as it is needed by women. I still found great benefit from the book. And I encourage the author to write for everybody because she has things to say that we men need to hear.
"I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review."