Thursday, November 21, 2013

Life Stinks...And Then You Die {Book Review}

You were pulled in by the title, weren’t you? J

Me too.

Except it’s not my title. It’s the title of a book I just finished by Bob Hostetler about the book of Ecclesiastes.

I particularly wanted to read this book because I tend to have a depressive spirit. {But who doesn't when one looks around at all that is wrong in the world?} Ecclesiastes appeals to me because of that. Misery loves company, and I've wondered if King Solomon and I could have been best buds. But a much more careful reading than I've ever conducted reveals a silver lining to Solomon's cloud of despair. It’s a silver lining I think we all could use when everything seems meaningless.

Bob writes, “This life can knock you down like a Whack-a-Mole and kick you around like a bull does a rodeo clown (you can file that under ‘Great Theological Truths’). Ecclesiastes never paints life any other way. It is gritty and straightforward. But it also shows us conclusively that God loves the hard questions, and he doesn’t insist on pat answers.” (p. 59)

You can see that Bob’s style is witty and conversational. It wasn’t difficult to imagine that Bob and I sat down over a cup of coffee and had a long chat, sharing our miseries in life but infusing the conversation with hope and wisdom. Bob and I also, I imagined, prayed together. Each chapter ends with a prayer, and it’s great to pray it right then, aloud, to ask the Lord to help you apply wisdom to your life.

I feel like I read it too quickly for the purpose of getting this review to y'all. Bob quotes Ecclesiastes extensively, but I want to highlight and make notes in the margin of my Bible. In the near future, I think I'll go back and reread, more slowly, taking time to contemplate and pray and apply the truths. How can we, in our everyday lives, be less concerned with acceptance and approval and more concerned with worship? What do we need to do to let go of the pursuit of wealth and cultivate contentment? When are we going to realize we ought to pray for wisdom above all?

So what is the one essential in all of life? What really and truly matters? If you've read Ecclesiastes, you know the answer. But I like the way Bob says it as well. And now you'll just have to read his book.

I was given a copy of this book by Bob Hostetler – himself! – in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Meghan Carver is a 2013 ACFW Genesis semi-finalist and the author of several articles and short stories. After achieving a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University and Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Millikin University and completing a brief stint in immigration law, Meghan heard God calling her to be at home. Now homeschooling her six children with her college professor husband, Meghan has returned to her first love of writing. She blogs about homeschooling and homemaking at