Saturday, November 9, 2013

Reading: More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger

Choosing a lifestyle of excessive generosity is the subtitle of this book, More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger.  I found this book on a website called NoiseTrade and it was available for free audiobook download so I took advantage of the opportunity.  Of course, audiobooks are not my favorite form of entertainment but this one I can honestly say I enjoyed immensely.  The book dares to ask a question all of us need to ask ourselves at one point or another - what is enough?
As Americans, we live the life of luxury.  We have everything available to us.  We can afford to upgrade our phone before the contract expires just so we can have the newest and coolest version of things.  We can afford to throw away our left over food so we can have a fresh meal the next time we are hungry.  Shinabarger dares the reader to go on a few social experiments while also presenting a few of his own personal stories of social experimenting and shows us why we need to appreciate what we have and how we can learn to live with enough instead of excess.
As I stated in my previous book review, I have been super busy and have not come to this blog in almost two months.  I listened to this audiobook about three months ago.  Yeah, not a good choice on my part to wait this long to write the review.  Not only that but because I listened to the book instead of actually reading it, I have not really gotten the full experience in my opinion because I forget it much easier.  Therefore, I will do my best in rating this book though I can definitely say I know I enjoyed it and will probably come back to read it sometime in the future.
There was one particular moment in the book that really inspired me and I would like to share it in this review.  Shinabarger and his wife decided that for one month they would not buy any food from the grocery store and eat only what was in their pantry.  They completed this experiment, and gained some weight in the process, but completed it none the less and they still had some food left by the end.  I was amazed and also jarred because just hearing about this experiment sort of woke me up and reminded me how lucky I am and how much I have. 
While the book is written by a Christian author, it is NOT a Christian book.  If you are familiar with my blog, you must know that I hate when things are described as Christian.  Christian is not an adjective.  You can't call a sweater Christian or a CD Christian.  You can't say - that painting of angels believes Jesus died for our sins.  It doesn't make sense.  Anyway...this book is secular.  It presents a universal truth that everyone can agree with, whether they are Christian or atheist or Buddhist or Jewish.  Christians are moved to do good things through Jesus, but the book does not make this claim.  I did not pick up on this small detail until I read a review of the book on GoodReads.  It is a valid point though I think as Christians we are called to unite with those who do not agree with us and therefore unite our faith with the secular. 
This book was excellent.  It is not a literary book by any means.  It is a book that challenges the reader and while literary books do challenge us, this just takes a different approach.  I will give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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