Wednesday, October 10, 2012

currently reading: When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up

Dr. Michael D. Sedler's book When To Speak Up and When To Shut Up is best summarized by a quote found on page 137.  He writes, "Silence.  Speaking up.  Both change destinies.  When we use these tools inappropriately, we can do great harm.  And when we use them as God intended, we can change our world for the better."

This book contains ten chapters.  Sedler shares many personal stories throughout, which help to engage the reader.  Clearly shown is the important of both silence and speech as well as the danger in using either at the wrong time.  Sedler strongly encourages the reader to examine their motives carefully and warns readers to be careful not to justify ungodly motives.  

Throughout the book, Sedler provides clear steps to apply his teaching, which results in many numbered lists or bullet points (perhaps too many).  Overall, Sedler has many wise insights into relationships and he shows the value in knowing when to speak and when to keep silence, a trait which is difficult to master.  He draws from real life situations as well sometimes sharing personal interactions with his children and other times relaying stories from his professional life.  Each chapter ends with "One Final Thought" (a summary paragraph) and usually has a couple discussion/application questions as well.  While this is an important topic, by the end of the book some points seemed redundant and it was easy to start to skim the pages when the material seemed familiar. 

Sedler peppers his writing with biblical examples in order to demonstrate how the principles he is writing about are seen in Scripture.  While this is generally a good idea, there were times when the biblical examples seemed forced.  One such example is found on page 76 where Sedler shares the exchange between Mordecai and Haman (from Esther 5).  Sedler's conclusion is that Haman was hanged on the gallows built for Mordecai because God was honoring Mordecai's faithfulness for not bowing down to Haman.  However, the Bible never says that Mordecai refused to bow out of reverence for God  - more than likely it was simply to spite Haman due to their ancestral strife.  Backing up teaching with Scriptural examples is a noble desire, however there were times throughout this book where Sedler seemed to strain the biblical text in order to make it fit with his point.

**Disclaimer:  I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher (Chosen Books) in exchange for an honest review.

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