3 out of 4 stars
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The Meanderings of My Muddled Mind by Craig Wood is a compilation of the author’s thoughts (“meanderings,” as he calls them). With thirty-six essays, Wood presents different thoughts regarding God and the Bible’s application to life. The essays read like a conversational column in a newspaper (Wood mentioned in the preface that most of the essays in the book were previously featured in a monthly column for a church newsletter). The author addressed several important topics, including how God loves us regardless of our shortcomings and various other nuggets. Every chapter ends with a few questions that give readers room for more discussion and introspection.
My favorite thing about this book is that the author’s tone is gentle and conversational. He writes as though he is right in front of you. The first essay began with Wood revealing that almost all his teeth are metal! I found his sentences easygoing, and the way he always related his personal stories to a meaningful message of God’s love melted my heart. I also loved the addition of the concluding questions; they can help foster deeper thinking and will be great for group discussions. For one, controversial questions like “Would you rather die and go to Heaven now, or wait a while? What do you think it would take for you to be 'ready to go?' Is it okay to like living and not want to die?” are sure to spice up group discussions.
The author's messages are powerful, compassionate, and feel like a big hug. I particularly loved reading that God’s grace is beyond obeying rules. We do not earn God’s grace by being righteous and blameless, but God's grace is for everyone. Readers will also find food for thought in the powerful message that we don’t find Jesus because He is not lost. It is Jesus who finds us because we are lost. I loved that kindness seeped through the author’s words. To my relief, Wood did not form any absolute conclusions. Instead, he invites you to think about what each topic means to you.
However, while I appreciated Wood’s open-ended writing style, some essays were so inconclusive that I would have liked to read more of the author’s insights, the chapter titled Power of Prayer being one example. I also found an ableist and offensive message: “We might have worked hard to get where we are, but we could have worked just as hard, been hit by a truck, and become disabled. Or we could have been born in Syria instead of the United States and become one of the million-plus in terrible refugee camps.” This excerpt wrongly implies that only privileged people should feel grateful.
Also, I saw the word “meandering” so many times that it became exhausting. While I understood the reference to the book’s title, repeating the word in every single essay became overbearing. Overall, I appreciated this book and think it will be a good read for Bible study groups and readers who enjoy introspecting. However, my rating is 3 out of 4. I removed one star because of the ableist excerpt I mentioned and my belief that the book could have been better with more details.
The Meanderings of My Muddled Mind
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