19 Following


Pain as a Starting Point - Kerry Kerr McAvoy

I received this book from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

One of the nice things about this book is that while it is the third book in the Living Life 2 The Fullest series, it is in no way dependent on the first two books and can be read separately.

Now I know I am not the target audience for this book as I am neither spiritual nor religious, however the topic interested me and I was curious about what insight the book held coming from a psychologist. Due to this, I was a bit disappointed.

While I appreciated the helpful suggestions in the test such as playlists, optional readings, practical exercises, daily discipline exercises, and suggested prayers, the actual analysis and content of the book wasn't all that unique.

As a psychology major I was hoping to identify with McAvoy and her perspective as a licensed psychologist applying her knowledge to spirituality in combination with theology and the bible. However, the biblical knowledge and theology were greatly flawed and the psychological elements were sparse and held little insight.

As far as psychology went, there wasn't all that much that was helpful. At one point, McAvoy even states that, "Although psychology attributes the causes of our emotional issues to early childhood difficulties, it is clear that sin has had a powerful impact on our fragile sense of self" (81-82). Yes, please, continue to tell me my depression is due to the fact that I'm a sinner. That is very helpful.

She then goes on to include a whole chapter demonstrating why we psychologically need God. This basically turns into her describing psychological needs such as trust, empathetic attunement, and security, and then filling that need with God.

Furthermore, her knowledge of the bible and Theology were a bit confusing. Like when she discusses an unchanging God that humans attribute such "human flaws, such as irrational anger, greed, and jealousy" (24), but that these attributes as misguided because he's God and so unlike us that we really can't understand him. McAvoy seems to just be ignoring the whole Old Testament and the fact that God apparently called himself a "jealous God". And also that whole bit with Abraham and Isaac, which McAvoy discusses, but only in a positive light in order to show true sacrifice and devotion to God.

I think the use of personal examples was good in demonstrating some of the concepts that McAvoy applied, but the entire message of the book was not very helpful.The whole message of the book can be summarized in the line "From our limited perspective his actions will not always make sense, but, like David, we will be able to trust in God's sovereignty as we come to know him better" (24-25). So basically trust in God, he works in mysterious ways. Not much insight there.

Overall, the book was a bit of a disappointment for me personally. I was hoping to get a unique perspective on pain and loss, but was left with a bunch of religious cliches.