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Our Favorite Sins: The Sins We Commit and How You Can Quit Hardcover – March 5, 2012
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About the Author
Todd Hunter is a bishop for The Anglican Mission in the Americas and is the founding pastor of Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Costa Mesa, CA. He is an adjunct professor at several seminaries and the author of Christianity Beyond Belief , Giving Churcha Second Chance , The Outsider Interviews , and The Accidental Anglican . Todd is also the founding director of Churches for the Sake of Others, a West Coast church planting initiative, and a past president of Alpha USA and the Association of Vineyard Churches. Todd also founded Three is Enough , a small-group movement that makes spiritual formation doable.
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"Novelty" isn't the right word for Hunter's insights into temptation; they're only novel because of their absence among most contemporary Christian authors that reach a mass audience. The early Church Fathers focused intently on disordered desires as the root of our sin and thus the place from which temptation emerges. This theme of disordered desire essentially means we do not love God as first-place love; we get things out of order. Not that we all dismiss the biblical God out of hand; rather, we love other people or things more than we love God. As a Wesleyan, I'm aware that this was at the core of John Wesley's theology, but it didn't begin with him. Jonathan Edwards was a contemporary of Wesley who emphasized the need for properly ordered "affections" which love God first. Presbyterian church planter Tim Keller is another present day theologian who taps this tradition every time he points out our idols held in place of the one true God.
Drawing on this rich tradition, Hunter describes several people struggling with temptations like overeating, procrastinating, and an inability to unplug from technology. These aren't the usual temptation suspects but these are the real struggles of Americans according to a Barna poll conducted for Hunter's book.
Each chapter connects the dots from temptation to disordered desire. The latter half of the book attempts to show how traditional Christian practices (what we in the Wesleyan/Methodist stream would call "means of grace") can, by the grace of God, reordered our disordered desires. Seeking God by faith through these, Hunter believes we can fix our love on God.
I greatly appreciate Hunter drawing attention to the often overlooked problem of disordered desires. I did, however, find the chapters repetitive. One chapter could have cataloged our many temptations and their connection to disordered desires. Hunter's encouragement to use traditional faith habits, like written prayers from The Book of Common Prayer, may be difficult for some evangelicals who are not accustomed to them. Our Favorite Sins could benefit from a brief biographical sketch recounting Hunter's own journey from nondenominational evangelical to evangelical Anglican.
Overall, I recommend it, but you need to read slowly, perhaps with group discussion.
*This book was provided free of charge from the Booksneeze review program in exchange for an honest review.