Monday, November 2, 2009

A bird's eye view of John Piper's When I Don't Desire God

Today I want to give you a bird's eye view of John Piper's When I Don't Desire God. This isn't a book you want to just launch yourself into! It helps - it would have helped me, anyway! - to have a feel for what lies ahead.

The first third of the book tells us why we need to fight for joy. It talks about how joy glorifies God, how devastating it is to know that God should be our highest joy when he's not, what the difference is between desire and delight, and how joy is both a gift and a fight.

The rest of the book tells us how to fight for joy. You'll find here the best chapters on the "spiritual disciplines" (Piper calls them "means of grace") I've ever read - and I've read a few! So if at any point you find the opening chapters hard going, think of them as a climb up a hill: at around chapter six, the view opens out before you and it's all worthwhile.

I suggest you read When I Don't Desire God at the rate of about three chapters a week, since this will get you through all twelve chapters in a month. We'll start slowly, reading just two chapters this week, but you may want to read a bit ahead, because we'll discuss four chapters next week, and four chapters the week after that (sorry, but the chapters naturally fall into pairs). During the last week we'll read the last two chapters (the most exciting of all, I think!) - which brings us to twelve.

Here's the plan:

Week 1
Chapter 1 - Why joy matters
Chapter 2 - Desire and delight

Week 2
Chapters 3 & 4 - The gift and the fight
Chapters 5 & 6 - Weapon 1: the gospel

Week 3
Chapters 7 & 8 - Weapon 2: the Bible.
Chapters 9 & 10 - Weapon 3: prayer

Week 4
Chapter 11 - Weapon 4: creation & our bodies
Chapter 12 - Dealing with depression

How's that sound to you?


Sarah B said...

Loving that free book Jean! I've bought a few to follow along in the past 12 months that haven't been that helpful so this is great.
BTW, listened to 2/3 of Steve's Song of Songs Sermons and they are great. Love Sarah

Jean said...

Hi Sarah! Great to hear from you!! Glad you're enjoying Steve's talks - have you got the MP3s, they've disappeared from the website and I'm trying to track them down!! And glad you're enjoying reading on line - I can't read that way, but I'm glad you can! :)

Sarah B said...

Yes have the mp3, do you need them?

I have to skim read online, it's less than ideal, but was reluctant to spend more money on Christian books this year. BTW, have you had success with secondhand books from Amazon? Each time they go to process my order (for 2nd hand) it comes up saying undeliverable in my area.

I didn't comment about your childcare posts (ie. other blog), but had lots of things I would like to say (questioning and criticism and sharing my personal experience, which is mainly the reason for the silence).....would love to chat face-to-face some time, but that might have to be in another lifetime??

Jean said...

It's okay, I've got hold of the talks.

I thought you might have a bit to say about those childcare posts!! I've done a lot of reading and research since writing them, which has clarified my thinking. It would be good to chat - email, if not in person, but either would be fine - although I bet neither of us has time to get together in person pre-Christmas! So maybe you could contact me via email.

Re Amazon: all you have to do is check before you click on the book that it mentions international orders under the bit about postage, then you'll be fine.

Love Jean.