January 10, 2017
The devotions section of the Christian bookstore is usually a place I avoid. While there are some good ones, I’ve always preferred just reading Scripture or working through a commentary. I often think of the devotions section as the checkout lane in a grocery store, full of junk screaming at you for an impulse buy. They are sugary and bright, cheap, superficial, and usually full of bad ingredients. Every now and then there may be a healthy option in the bunch, but who has the time to bother?
New believers are often given devotionals to help them get in the habit of reading and meditating on a piece of Scripture everyday. Busy Christians who want to be in the Word during the week may seek a devotional for a quick read over their morning coffee. Perhaps those who are asking questions about Christianity would pick up a devotional to see what the big deal is. And then they quit the stuff because they just don’t fit in with the cotton candy, sentimental drivel found in the pages.
If you fit into any of these categories, Anne Kennedy has Nailed It. She wants you to actually read through the Bible. As you are doing this, she offers a very short devotional for each day of the year, hitting on particular verses along the way of your reading. But you notice something very different about Anne Kennedy’s devotions. They are not of the sanguine, “everything’s awesome” variety that you usually find in this genre. Don’t take my word for it, just look at the cover (which goes down in my book as one of the best covers of a book published by a Christian woman ever). Her subtitle is 365 Sarcastic Devotions for Angry or Worn-Out People. And Anne does not disappoint.
This is a devotional for those who don’t fit into the happy-little-Christian box. And it’s also for those who think it’s okay to have a little humor in their reading reflections. Kennedy doesn’t pick all the easy verses either. She pulls devotion to God out of what may have seemed random acts in history. Our days are kind of like that, aren’t they? Circumstances often seem arbitrary and we sometimes question if it really matters how we get through them. This is what I especially appreciated about the book---Anne weaves all the tapestry together and helps the reader see the significance of God’s holiness, mercy, and love in Christ working in our own lives now.
Anne is a minister in the Anglican church. I mention this because I don’t want my readers to suspect that I am now trying to stealthily sneak in a position of ordained women in anyone’s theology. However, this is a secondary issue of doctrine. While women in ordination would certainly affect where I worship, it is not a first order doctrinal matter of orthodoxy. I am happy to have sharpening friendships with other women in the faith who are concerned for biblical orthodoxy, even while our convictions differ on secondary issues. This is a devotional book, not one on whether or not women should be ordained. I have a very short list of devotionals when someone asks me for a recommendation, and Anne Kennedy’s is on it.