Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Review: Closer

For this book review I had to employ the help of my hubby of four and half years, Marc. Closer is a couples devotional by Jim and Cathy Burns. If you are like me, you read the phrase "couples devotional" and threw up a little bit in your mouth. Don't worry, if you are part of a "couple" and you hate the typical "couples" devotionals on the market, this book might just be for you.

Jim and Cathy Burns divide this devotional into 2-3 page chapters that focus on a specific topics related to relationships and faith. The devotional is very narrative based and many of the entries tell stories from the Burns' past or stories from other couples. But the thing that sets this devotional apart from other devotionals of our past was the questions at the end of the chapter.

There are two sections at the close of each chapter that help you as a couple "dig deeper" into the topic in question. The first section is called "Faith Conversations" and it contains questions for couples to ask and answer. Here is an example: "When was the last time we had a significant conversation?" For the most part, they are deep questions. Marc and I call them coffee shop questions; the kinds of questions that you want to ask over a yummy iced latte (or your drink of choice).

The other section is called "A Step Closer" and it gives an activity that you can do as a couple to apply the things you talk about in the "Faith Conversations" section. Here is an example: "Decide when would be the soonest time, as a couple, that you could take a short sabbatical...for reflection, rest, refreshment, restoration, and recreation..." This section helps you to do what you learn rather than just talk about it. Very cool, in our opinion.

And the best part is that you can do one devotional a day, or one a week, or pick it up when you are able. I think devotional time as a couple is very important, but I know we haven't always been consistent over the course of our marriage. This book, by not dating the entries or telling you when you should do them, takes off the pressure and allows you to focus on God and one another, not your sense of guilt. Also very cool, in our opinion.

Overall, I give this book a five out of five. If you are a couple seeking a devotional that isn't all about women submitting to their husbands and is a lot more egalitarian, this is for you.

Note for Full Disclosure: While I do not receive any monetary compensation for my book reviews, I am provided with free complimentary copies of each book. That being said, this review is completely my own, and free from the influence of Bethany House Book Publishers.

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