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How to Be Good in a World Gone Bad: Living a Life of Christian Virtue Paperback – November 4, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications (November 4, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0825436958
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825436956
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is more than a book of suggestions--this is a manual for how to be ""blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation.""" (Shirley Updyke What's New on the Bookshelf 2005-05-01)

"Few Christian books so powerfully combine biblically spiritual insight with common-sense realism done in a manner that advocates the fruit of the Spirit. Spiegel assesses applying Christian virtues in our contemporary world. His insight into human psychology is sharp, and his ability to write to the reader's experience without pulling punches or being judgmental is a rare jewel. . . . Recommended to anyone interested in growing in grace." (Gerry Wisz CBA Marketplace 2005-10-01)

"Few Christian books so powerfully combine biblically spiritual insight with common-sense realism done in a manner that advocates the fruit of the Spirit. Spiegel assesses applying Christian virtues in our contemporary world. His insight into human psychology is sharp, and his ability to write to the reader's experience without pulling punches or being judgmental is a rare jewel. . . . Recommended to anyone interested in growing in grace." (Gerry Wisz CBA Marketplace 2004-10-01)

"This book should not only be considered essential reading for Christians of all ranks (including pastors), but for anyone who wants to know the key ingredients for successful leadership. It's all in this work. And the price of the book is affordable. It is scholarly in its reading but not difficult, with classic sayings of leading philosophers and theologians sprinkled throughout. The author, James S. Spiegel. . . . writes clearly to spur us on to excellence." (Rev. Austin Miles Agape Press 2004-12-23)

"Dr. Spiegel's book provides the road map to rein in the flesh, go beyond ourselves, and be the example to the world that God would have us be. Christian should consider themselves as being under construction with their eye on that goal. This book should not only be considered essential reading for Christian of all ranks (including pastors) but for anyone who wants to know the key ingredients for successful leadership. It's all in this work." (Rev. Austin Miles www.MichNews.com 2004-12-01)

And this book gives the finest example of ruling oneself that can be found today. Every serious Christian should have this book. Come to think about it, so should everyone else. (Rev. Austen Miles AgapePress 2004-12-23)

From the Back Cover

"Be patient always." But what about when our prayers seem to go unanswered?

"Seek peace." But what about when good intentions don't result in a resolution?

"Be humble." But what about when no one gives us the acknowledgment we deserve?

It's hard to be good, especially when everything—and everyone—around us seems to be going from bad to worse. How can Christians live the virtuous life that God has called us to?

With candor and clarity, James Spiegel explores twenty-two different traits of a person with excellent character, including: humility, kindness, generosity, wit, justice, patience, courage, peace, gratitude, faith, and love. Each chapter features concrete examples and practical steps for developing specific virtues. This is more than a book of suggestions—this is a manual for how to be "blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation…" (Phillip. 2:14).

 “This book is a workout for the Christian soul. It will stretch you in ways you did not think possible, but after reading it you will feel stronger in the faith than ever before.”

—Stephen H. Webb
Professor of Religion, Wabash College
Author of Good Eating, The Divine Voice, and Taking Religion to School

James S. Spiegel (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is professor of philosophy at Taylor University, Upland, Indiana. He is the author of Hypocrisy: Moral Fraud and Other Vices, as well as numerous articles. He lives with his wife and three children in Fairmount, Indiana.


More About the Author

James Spiegel holds a PhD from Michigan State University and currently teaches philosophy at Taylor University. He is the author of several books, including the award-winning How to Be Good in a World Gone Bad. Spiegel is a frequent speaker at Christian colleges, conferences, churches, and on radio programs. He lives in Fairmount, Indiana, with his wife, Amy, and their four children, Bailey, Samuel, Magdalene, and Andrew.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. McNeil on February 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
I would highly recommend this relevant and insightful book. Spiegel writes with a philosopher's mind, a pastor's heart, and an artist's pen to gently force the reader to reflect on the quality of the life they are living.

First, I should say that I was surprised at how much I liked this book. Virtue was not a subject that I was particularly interested in primarily because I labored under a faulty understanding of the subject. But I had stumbled upon Spiegel's earlier book on Hypocrisy, which I appreciated, so I thought he would have some valuable insights on the topic of virtue.

This book is inspiring in its explanation of virtues (universally desirable character traits such as love, creativity, humility, patience, and even wit to name a few) and the serious thought it gives to how one can come to possess and display these virtues in their own life. In that regard, it is a book that easily makes the leap from simply being something you are reading into a work that influences how you live your life.

I read through this book with several friends in a Bible study. It was conducive to this format and it really stimulated some great conversations between friends. Just a thought in case you are looking for a good book that is adaptable for use in that kind of setting or to read and discuss with a good friend.

This book engages the mind, heart, and soul and I would highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kristin Zhivago on March 19, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm only on Chapter 3 and already I know I'm going to be reading this book again. There were a number of times when something Mr. Spiegel said made me stop reading, put the book down for a few minutes, and reflect on his words.

The author has already helped me understand why I do things I don't want to do, and how to start doing things I want to do.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants new insights on how God works and how we can more closely work with Him.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Allan T. Georgia on October 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
I don't know if the best thing about this book is Professor Spiegel's attention to a subject vastly understudied within the field of Christian ethics (especially in the Conservative Protestant wordld), or if it is the way in which an account so locquaciously written can still be so philosophically informed and carefully reasoned - acknowledging other ethical traditions as sources of ethical reasoning, or if it is the fact that such a book has been written which, while addressing an academic question, still reads relevantly in the eyes of individuals concerned with the practical question of living life for the good. In any case, Professor Spiegel writes his vocation, as one trained not only to think about these issues, but also to live them, into a text which is available to the scholar and non-scholar alike. For someone trying to think about the difference between the ethical reasoning of Kant, say, and the ethical reasoning of Aristotle, Spiegel's work reads like an informed description of the virtues imbibed with deontological concerns. For someone trying to discover moral guidence - nearly absent in every way from the pattern of this world - this book reads like a guidebook to goodness, entreating to reader to a life which is lived truly, and well.

It may be a great compliment to an author to name him a philosopher of the highest sort, as a lauding of his erudition and scholasticism. I think that the more appropriate appelation, in light of this book, is to call Dr. Spiegel a true pastor, one who has guided many into calmer pastures of the mind where the pursuit of goodness is suddenly possible in a world that has speculated as to whether there is goodness at all to speak of.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Peterson on February 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
In this book, Dr. Spiegel brings together philosophy, theology and practical wisdom to explore an essential subject: living a life of Christian virtue. Philosophical as well as literary works are often employed alongside biblical passages as Dr. Spiegel explores the moral life that Christians are called to live. So, no matter what your background, you will learn something reading this book.

Personally, I was very encouraged and challenged by this book. I remember a professor in college telling me that if I ever wanted the ride of my life, I should just try to be good. He also told me that he knew nothing in the world that felt better than putting his head down on his pillow at night with a clear conscience. Certainly, it seems that answering God's call for us to live holy lives should be a constant challenge.

This book will be a help to you in responding to that call. It reminded me of The Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster--another amazing book. How to be Good in a World gone Bad will challenge your heart, your mind and your soul. Don't expect to have warm fuzzies every time you turn the page, but do expect for your desire to follow God to increase. Also, expect to be more equipped to do you part in fulfilling that desire, as the Holy Spirit helps you. Finally, expect to see the romance between God and yourself in a more beautiful light.

In a world today that desperately needs to see Christians living up to the call of Christ, Christians who are willing to train themselves in virtuous living, this book comes at the perfect time.
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