Book Review: Accepted in the Beloved -- By: Elizabeth W. McLaughlin
Book Review: Accepted in the Beloved
Leslie Ann McKinney
(House of Prisca and Aquila Series, Wipf & Stock, 2008)
ELIZABETH W. McLAUGHLIN is Assistant Professor of Communication at Bethel College, Indiana, where she teaches courses in writing, interpersonal communication, speech, mass media, and public relations. McLaughlin, an active United Methodist, recently completed her dissertation on how Mennonite quiltmaking rhetorically expresses the image of God. She lives in Granger, Indiana, with her husband Donald and daughters Kaitlin and Holly.
Pastor Leslie Ann McKinney passionately believes that God loves and accepts his daughters and has created Accepted in the Beloved: A Devotional Bible Study for Women on Finding Healing and Wholeness in God’s Love to help women know and experience this love for themselves. The book is suitable for individual and group studies, but it is also a helpful resource for spiritual directors and other mentors who work with women who have been wounded in their relationships or in their faith communities.
McKinney, pastor of community at Pilgrim Church of Beverly, Massachusetts, addresses “all God’s daughters who have suffered from any form of abuse and who long to know and experience the intimate love and acceptance of God” (xi). In six short lessons and fifty-five pages, readers are led through individual chapters, whose topics include how we are chosen in love, created in God’s image, how we are to understand God’s nature, express emotion, live in freedom, and discover our calling in life. In each chapter, readers are directed through a fill-in-the-blank conversation with the author through a process of encountering key scriptures (“learning God’s truth”), practical application and journaling exercises (“experiencing God’s love”), and a call to help someone else (“sharing God’s love”). The study skillfully weaves scriptural truth together with a focused process of reflection.
Instead of just reading this book, I decided to experience it firsthand over several weeks and to put its principles into practice. McKinney’s conversational style works well in this format, and she effectively acknowledges that her readers may have experienced some kind of abuse while avoiding the rhetoric of bitterness or victimization. “Perhaps you have experienced repeated rejection or abuse from your spouse, a close friend, or significant other, and this has hindered you from believing that you are precious, valuable, and fully acceptable to God” (2). McKinney’s focus is on guiding her readers into an encounter with the living God through a gentle confrontation with violations of the past that can distort our present perceptions about God and ourselves.
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