on July 27, 2006
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality builds upon Pastor Scazzero's previous book - The Emotionally Healthy Church. Although there is some repetition in the beginning part of this book, Mr. Scazzero further develops the 6 principles outlined from his first book using more personal examples and revealing a fresh passion to effectively help the reader move from theory to a changed life. I agree with the author - what good is it to provide more information, or even preaching material (that is all some Pastors will see) if the result is not a changed/transformed life? Only time, and responses from those who read this work will tell if the author's intention was fulfilled.
As for me, I was elated when reading chapters four ("Becoming Your Authentic Self"), five ( "Breaking the Power of the Past"), and nine ("Learning New Skills to Love Well") - because they advanced the issues that seem to be the major area of weakness for the modern day church. Pastors should pay special attention to the content of these chapters because many of them have not yet emerged as the unique person and gift that God has created them to be, often because of not dealing with these specific issues. In my opinion these chapters deserve even more development - a proper treatment could be an entire book rather than just a couple of chapters.
The rest of the book is ok, mostly a re-packaging of spiritual disciplines effectively treated by spiritual formation writers to the likes of Richard Foster and Dallas Willard. There are many thought provoking quotes throughout the book, something the author uses well in his approach to illuminating the principles of emotionally healthy spirituality.
Overall, the book is a worthwhile read. I look forward to more dialogue on this subject.
on July 3, 2006
Peter Scazzero's first book, "The Emotionally Healthy Church" has had a great impact on churches and church leaders all over North America and beyond, so much so that it is now available in 5 languages. Next year another language will come out and by sometime in 2008 it will be available in 7 languages according the publisher. It is interesting to note that book was written for a church leaders. This new book, "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash the Power of Authentic Life in Christ", goes beyond just leadership, to everyone who has a seeking heart.
I am member of Pastor Pete's church. His preaching and teaching has and continues to transform how we see ourselves in Christ, how we relate to each other, both in the world and in the Body of Christ, and in how to walk out a freedom in emotional and spiritual health that has restored our joy in the Lord! Our church funtions in a greater degree of love and understanding of who God made each of us to be as individuals and as a body. We are still journeying on that path, growing daily.
Yet, upon reading this book I told Pastor Pete that his writing is even better than his preaching on this book and that's saying something! Even after sitting under teaching for 3 years now on this new book "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash the Power of Authentic Life in Christ", I found myself drawing nearer and deeper into who Jesus is as I read, and how much the love of the Father is impacting my life like never before. The grace and the power of the Holy Spirit reaches through every word. Although written in easy reading form, there is much to chew on in this book, much to digest. Pick it up for your summer reading under a shade tree on your vacation. Read it slowly and contemplate the Lord's presence as you do so. You won't be sorry, you'll be changed.
on October 27, 2006
Three years after Pastor Pete published his award-winning book "Emotionally Healthy Church"(Zondervan, 2003), we finally have a new book from him. Personally, I believe that this is a great book that will revolutionize the ways churches around the globe approach spirituality. In this book, Pastor Pete tries to provide an antidote to unhealthy emotions and/or unhealthy spirituality by two cures: emotional health and contemplative spirituality. (Chapter Three) These cures, I believe, are helpful even to non-Christians.
Pastor Pete begins the bulk of this book by enumerating the top ten symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality. (Chapter Two) In the seven primary chapters constituting the pathway to emotionally healthy spirituality, he begins by "Know yourself that you may know God"(Chapter Four). This is indeed important because oftentimes we misunderstand God because we do not even understand ourselves well enough. "Going back in order to go forward" is the title for the next chapter, which is also a slogan of the New York City subway system from time to time when it tries to explain the reason and result of rerouting. This is equally true for spiritual maturity because to understand ourselves well, we frequently would have to go back to our (sometimes hurtful) past to find out the reason(s) of our current wound/immaturity in order to find an effective remedy. Chapter Six describes the journey through the wall. This is important because the journey to heaven is full of thorns and never without obstacles. Appreciating the necessity/inevitability of walls and the importance of patiently waiting upon the Lord during the period of walls is a key to mature spirituality. As human life is never consummated without grief and loss, the next chapter teaches us to accept this fact and to enlarge our soul through the grieving process. (See e.g. Ecclesiastes 3:4 and Job)
Chapter Eight is one of my favorite chapters in this book, which describes the rhythms of the Daily Offices and the Sabbath. Daily Office (opus) is the functional equivalent of the quiet time or devotional time with an emphasis in meaning on the "work of God". This is a favorite chapter because personally I have greatly benefited from the observance of the Daily Offices and the Sabbath. Moreover, I believe that observing the Sabbath is a great way to get some quality rest on a weekly basis while observing the daily offices is crucial to rest and center on God on a daily basis. "Love your neighbors as yourself" is one of the central tenets of Christianity (Matthew 22:39). Chapter Nine teaches us some useful techniques to love people well as a mature person, such as the right way to resolve conflicts, reflective listening, the Bill of Rights on mutual respect, checking out assumptions and expectations. In the last chapter, Pastor Pete challenges us to consider developing a personal rule of life by adopting two or three of the following elements at a time, such as scripture, silence and solitude, Daily Office (prayer), study, Sabbath, simplicity, play and recreation, service and mission, care for the physical body, emotional health, family, community (companions for the journey).
I highly recommend this book to any Christian and/or non-Christian who wants to develop mature character and spirituality.
on October 22, 2007
Scazzero offers a useful book in "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality," though I couldn't help but think that it could have been so much more. What he does best is cut through some of the Christianese insider language to identity some serious problems with the way that many of us think and talk about our faith, specifically in the context of emotions. He diagnosis a real problem with some of our most common, unspoken assumptions (that Christians are always supposed to be happy, that a meaningful relationship with Christ will produce emotion-free bliss, etc.). In fact, the first several chapters of the book, in which he lays out this diagnosis, are the strength.
My critique is two-fold. First, I felt that Scazzero made a serious logical misstep when he goes to great lengths in the first half of the book to illustrate that the faithful practice of spiritual disciplines will not insure or produce emotional maturity. However, towards the end of the book, his prescription for emotional well-being essentially boils down to the faithful practice of spiritual disciplines, though they are somewhat unorthodox in the contemporary evangelical community (what he calls a "Rule of Life"). This solution would have made sense, had he not taken great pain to suggest that spiritual disciplines are not the answer to emotional immaturity.
The other problem with the book is that it was rather dry. In contrast to an author like John Ortberg, who weaves story after story in the midst of his text, Scazzero didn't seem very inclined to use narrative as a way to engage the reader. As a result, I was sometimes bored, though his content was quite compelling.
Overall, this book is fine, and I'm glad that I read it. Chapter 8 (on the Daily Office and the Sabbath) was a high point that any Christian would be well-served to read. But the logical disconnect and the dry writing style prevent me from recommending it too highly.
on March 16, 2009
A year ago I was secretly battling Alcoholism and Addictions thinking this was the life I was meant to have. I had a newborn baby and a wife of 7 years and my addictions were tearing our marriage and my life apart. My life was out of control, but by Gods grace through an intervention I was sent to one of the most well respected and top recovery and addictions treatment facilities. I had become a Christian 11 years prior and God had radically changed my life doing amazing things in and through me. I had found an escape in alcohol at an early age as it allowed me to deal with life circumstances and challenges, and to allow me to quickly change the way I felt. Thinking I had control over the alcohol, it quickly had control over me. I have been clean and sober now 11 months and have been through and continue to go through intensive counselling and therapy. This book though is one that God has used to help save not only my life but my marriage. Though I had become a Christian at 19 years old and was "a new creation" I continued to carry with me the wounds and scars that life had delivered me and the only way I knew to deal with them was through alcohol and other addictions. This book allowed me to dig deeper into my past, to feel my past, and to understand the things that have made me who I am. In the past, Truth had always trumped my feelings, because my feelings I was told would easily lie to me. However for me, alcohol trumped the truth. This book has done a great job at allowing me to not only identify my feelings and to recognize that as a good thing, but to be open and honest with God about them. It has also allowed me and my wife to begin the healing process as we openly talk about how we feel now, whether angry, sad, fearful, happy, joyful, or peaceful. Recovery is about a lot of things for me but it has been about being able to recognize my feelings and emotions as a good thing and to deal with them in a Godly way by being open and honest about my story with God, my wife and a few close friends. It has set me on a path to being Emotionally Healthy! I won't fully be there until eternity but am grateful to God that He used this book in my life at 30 years old.
on March 8, 2007
At last a book that offers a way to let Jesus heal the whole person, empower a Christian's entire life. With unflinching honesty and humility, Pastor Scazzero witnesses to a spirituality that gives attention to our past without allowing us to remain perpetual victims. He offers us disciplines for our future that can shape our lives and make room for the abundance that Jesus promised.
My favorite surprise in the book was the call to true "Sabbath." I'm not there yet, but I feel the tug of the Spirit, urging me to take this seriously. It is such a joy to realize that the world can carry on one day a week without me!
It's difficult to imagine the Christian whose walk would not benefit from reading this book.
on October 12, 2006
I have read few books that caused me to stop - make time to re-read, weep, journal and pray about the impact they were having on my life. This book is THAT powerful. It is deeply personal, both from the author's point of view and to where it takes you, the reader. The stories shared vividly illustrate Scazzero's points and I have never seen the relationship between emotional maturity and spirituality so deftly woven together. Great find!
on May 31, 2011
Pete Scazzero (the pastor of a thriving church in New York) writes a very transparent and yet helpful account of how Christians have a tendency to neglect two areas of their lives: the emotions, and the realities of generational sin. He begins the book by demonstrating how devastating this can be in relationships, and how this affects the corporate health of the body of Christ. What this does ultimately is it creates a "false peace" that deals only with symptoms and not the causes of what makes for unhealthy relationships.
I think this book is must reading for all Christians, especially church leaders (pastors, teachers, small group leaders, etc.) because I think most interpersonal relationships, marriages, families, and thus churches live in this reality Scazzero calls "false peace." In the book he gives various examples from his life, and others lives - as well as many biblical examples of how to identify these real emotional and sinful tendencies, and how to correct them through the biblical disciplines.
For example - I have discipled numerous men over the years (as a pastor and professional life coach) who know the Bible well, but their relationships are a mess. Sometimes they have a ton of repressed anger inside, or are trying to "make up" for the approval they never received at home, or they have an incurable "lust" problem, etc. Ultimately, all these "realities" are typically below the surface in the discipleship process - and never dealt with. We give people more verses; more lists of dos and don'ts, and continue to live in this realm of false peace.
Scazzero builds a great case in the book for identifying personal and generational sin, and gives excellent tools for grappling with, and overcoming these areas of sin with the help of God's Word and the Holy Spirit. I can't recommend this book (and the workbook that goes with it) highly enough. I think if Christians and churches (he's also written a book called the Emotionally Healthy Church with a workbook that goes with it) want to really become healthy and rid the false peace and barriers that have been built up over time, you can't do any better than to read and work through this book.
My wife and I have read this book and gone through the workbook at least four times, and it has been absolutely life transforming. Along with R.C. Sproul's the "Holiness of God," and Peter Kreeft's ("Heaven: The Heart's Deepest Longing") and Randy Alcorn's books on Heaven - this book has radically changed my thinking and behavior - and has helped me repent of, and deal with sin in my life in a way that few books have helped me to do. I think every Christian should read this book more than once and go through the workbook with another person, or several people (small groups are ideal - especially if they are a close knit small group).
As a pastor and church leader for many years I also recommend that staff's, elders, and ministry teams go through this book for healthier teams that will radically benefit the body of Christ for good. If I could give this a higher rating than a five I would - this book is one of the greatest gifts of God's grace I've received - it has helped me in all of my relationships - with God, other believers, and those who have yet to believe - and taken me to a deeper level in all these relationships than I ever thought possible.
on January 3, 2007
Just as Daniel Goleman has pioneered Emotional Intellegence in the secular world, Peter Scazzero is one of the lone voices pioneering emotional health in the spiritual world. This book is a must read for all church leaders!!
on October 20, 2006
I'm reading Emotionally Healthy Spirituality for the second time. This book aligns with my spiritual belief, as well as my personal belief system, that emotional health should be--no, must be--integrated into the body of Christ so to promote true spiritual maturity. The book, as some people may believe, is not saying that we should live or be driven by our emotions, but to address them. Avoidance is a curse to emotional health. Given my past experience, I wholeheartedly believe that emotional health is one of the major keys to spiritual growth. However, Peter Scazzero is the first pastor that I know of who has articulated the issue--and well!