10/08/2011

Who is my neighbour? (by Steve Moore)

I hadn't heard of Steve Moore; apparently he's an American Christian leader in the missions world. I only came across his book when it was available free, for a while, for the Kindle. I've been reading it, off and on, for the past month or so.

'Who is my Neighbor (sic)?' is sub-titled 'Being a Good Samaritan in a Connected World'. It focuses on the importance of the well-known parable as told by Jesus, and asks who we should consider as our neighbours in today's world, where the power of television and the Internet - not to mention mobile phones, Skype, and the like - give us news from every part of the globe, including dire needs due to earthquakes and other disasters. It's too easy, the author asserts, to become overwhelmed by so much need and to lose our focus or to turn inward and become neighbour to nobody at all.

I thought that there were some interesting ideas in this book. Moore encourages everyone to find something to be passionate about, to create what he calls 'heart links', and discover God's priorities for them. He points out, correctly, that nobody can possibly take care of every need, and gives some anecdotes showing how God inspired particular individuals towards ministries or serving of some kind, starting with specific circumstances that opened their eyes to a particular need.

Unfortunately, from my British perspective, the book was rather spoiled by heavy use of Christian and American jargon, and words such as 'leverage' used repeatedly as a verb. This made it quite hard to read in places, and I found myself cringing sometimes, which detracted somewhat from the thought-provoking nature of some of what was said.

In addition, there were several irritating references to seminars and videos to be accessed online, with free 'one-time' codes which didn't, as far as I could tell, work with the free Kindle edition. Fair enough that they didn't, but I would have thought it would have been easy enough to remove the references from the text. Since they were there, it felt sometimes as if the whole thing was a marketing ploy for the author's site and products.

So, overall, I didn't find this as good as I had expected, though I can't really complain about something that cost me nothing. While there were some useful insights, and plenty that made sense, it was hard to cut through the jargon sometimes, and even harder to pause and think in the midst of so much apparent enthusiasm.

Although the Kindle editions of this book are no longer free, the 'Who is my neighbour' site enables free download, a chapter at a time, to a computer. Amazon links given are to the (rather expensive) book editions.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 10th August 2011

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