Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Review of Courageous Generosity: A Bible Study for Women

The focus of this study written by Stacy Mitch is heroic sacrifice. When I think of the term heroic sacrifice I think of Jesus, or a local high school graduate who, as a solider in Vietnam, threw his body on a grenade to save his platoon. In these big cases, heroic sacrifice means giving one’s life for one’s friends. But what does heroic sacrifice mean to me, an ordinary woman living a posh life in the United States? How do I live heroically without being miserable? Media messages tell me sacrifice makes me unhappy, and my Catholic religion tells me sacrifice is the way to true contentment. Of course I’d like to believe my religion, but honestly, I’d like to know how this can be true? Sacrifice is hard and a bummer. I’m so spoiled I consider giving up Coca Cola for forty days challenging. Am I pathetic? Well, yes, to an extent, but this study shows that I can strengthen my faith, and overcome the fears that block me from heroic love. In the opening chapter, Mitch writes:

“…sainthood demands courageous generosity. No one can be holy without it. But so much in our world and in our own hearts works against us learning to live that virtue. Today we live in a world that glorifies selfishness.” (1)

This idea that sacrifice is hard and unpleasant is the main reason I was drawn to Courageous Generosity. Mitch breaks up the study into eight lessons. The chapters take the reader on a journey throughout the Bible. A series of guiding questions outline each theme. Since I think a Bible study is a private endeavor, I’m not going to share my answers to the guiding questions. However, it is important to point out that this study is worthwhile and enlightening for two reasons.

First, the author emphasizes that as individuals on a faith journey, we need to have courage- “We must do what we ought in the face and in spite of our fears.” (2)

Plenty of times in various situations I have given in to pressure from other people and I have not followed my heart. The most frightening thing about doing what you feel you “ought” is the uncertainty of the outcome. This is precisely where faith comes in. Mitch’s study points to dozens of instances where characters in the Bible followed their hearts, always praying sincerely, and God was with them through it all.

Also, Courageous Generosity is written for women, incorporating the challenges of motherhood and married life into the study. The author shows, through multiple Biblical examples, ways in which great sacrifice led to unforeseen joy.

Overall, this is a good read for Lent. In a time of fasting, why not feast on a book that can enlighten and deepen faith? Check out Courageous Generosity: A Bible Study for Women on Heroic Sacrifice. Better yet, give it to a woman you know as an Easter gift. (Warning husbands, Do NOT give this book in place of chocolate! Tape a hollow chocolate bunny to the book and you'll have a happy wife.)

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Courageous Generosity - A Bible Study for Women.


Milk Man said...

Remember me, the guy you didn't see last night. You have sacraficed your own ambition and career to nurture the future of our faith. You have demonstrated Courageous Generosity. Go celebrate with a Coke.

Putz said...

what is in it for me?????and what have you done for me lately???????like in the last ten minutes, no patience for old rewardds but just for INSTANT GRATIFICATION

Loren Christie said...

Milkman, thanks but I gave that up for Lent. Mr. Putz, no need to get all scary.

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