Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

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Book Review by Jack Falt, INFJ

Kise, Jane & David Stark,  Life Directions: Experiencing the Gifts of Godís Guidance, Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1999, ISBN 1-55661-208-7, 240 pp

This book is meant as a study resource for a church group. There is only a short section on personality type. The book review is included because Jane Kise will be one of the presenters at the November 2003 OAAPT Conference. Kise was a coauthor of LifeKeys and the workbook by the same name with David Stark and Sandra Krebs Hirsh. Kise also coauthored Find Your Fit with Kevin Johnson, a teen version of LifeKeys. Kise and Hirsh were the spiritual editors for the APT Bulletin for several years. She coauthored SoulTypes with Hirsh as well as Work It Out.

Jane Kise is a freelance writer and management consultant. David Stark is pastor of adult education at Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, MN. The material is based on what I would call conservative Christian theology. I found the material very readable. While I would class my own theology as very much more liberal, I resonated with many of the ideas, although I would not describe the concepts in the same terms. There are numerous examples to help the reader understand the points being made.

The premise of the book is that God is directing our lives. The difficulty is that often the instructions are not very clear. The authors look at four major ways that God communicates with us: through scripture, our special design, speaking directly to us, and through circumstances. In the appendices there are checklists for our Life Gifts and Spiritual Gifts, suggestions for small group discussion, and worksheets for integrating Godís guidance for your life decisions.

Many Christians believe that God works through them to fulfill His/Her purpose for humanity. It is therefore important for people to correctly get the message for their own lives and for people as a whole.

People are urged to read the scriptures and be open to what speaks to them. Sometimes the scriptures give very direct and explicit instructions about behaviour. Other times it is through the stories of the Bible heros. People must ask how these apply to their own lives. Being in a Bible study group creates a discipline of methodically going through the scriptures, and there is the opportunity to hear how others interpret the material.

In the chapter on finding guidance through our special design, it looks at our life and spiritual gifts, our values and passions, and our personality types. The emphasis in this chapter is that we all have special gifts even though they may not be equally valued in society. There are a number of lists of these gifts that can be used as a checklist.

It would be so much easier if when we woke up we could hear Godís voice say, ďToday, Jack, I want you to do ......Ē Even if he sent an e-mail it would be helpful. Even though it is not a common occurrence, people have reported that they have a heard a voice telling them very explicitly what to do. At other times the message has come through someone who felt compelled to bring them a message. Certainly these messages need to be considered very carefully. Joan of Arc led her country to victory but got burned at the stake for her troubles.

The final method of communication discussed is being guided by circumstances. Often situations cry out for attention. We see around us needs of our loved ones and people in the community. Sometimes that community is the world at large. Some individuals are called to attend to those needs. Sometimes our own personal circumstances are the message. We may lose our jobs and then move on. When we look back we see what a rut we were in and that we needed to change. Was this a message from God or do we interpret it as just a coincidence? Jung didnít think there was any such thing as a coincidence.

While personality type is only a brief portion of this book, you may find the book helpful at determining what directions you are being given.

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