Book Review: All That’s Good
[The following bio was retrieved from Hannah’s Amazon author page, which can be found here.]
Hannah Anderson lives in the haunting Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She spends her days working beside her husband in rural ministry, caring for their three children, and scratching out odd moments to write. In those in-between moments, she contributes to a variety of Christian publications and is the author of “Made for More” (Moody, 2014), “Humble Roots” (Moody, 2016), and her latest “All That’s Good,” the book being reviewed here (Moody, 2018). You can connect with her at her blog sometimesalight.com and on Twitter @sometimesalight.
A Fresh Spin on Discernment
Andrew Wilson, in his commendation of All That’s Good, in its opening pages, summed up my thoughts almost exactly. He writes,
“I’ve always seen discernment as a basically negative thing: make sure you don’t embrace something bad. Hannah Anderson has convinced me that it is a positive thing: make sure you do embrace what is good. This book, like the biblical text it centers on, is good, true, honorable, excellent, and praiseworthy…“
He’s right. Hannah Anderson, in All That’s Good, has written a truly good book. The premise of the book is quite simple: it’s an explication of the oft-quoted verse in Philippians 4:8 in which the Apostle Paul instructs his reader to think about such things that are “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.” Chapter after chapter, Anderson directs our attention towards these things and does so in her signature winsome, earthy style.
Wilson is also right, at least in my experience, when it comes to perceiving “discernment as a basically negative thing.” I have subconsciously, for as long as I can remember, viewed discernment as a tool needed for determining which activities I shouldn’t participate in or which decisions shouldn’t be made. But Anderson makes the argument that discernment is actually meant to illuminate what’s good. Thus, the Apostle Paul, in his instruction to the Philippians, is encouraging them to practice Christian discernment.
Hannah Anderson is a phenom.
In fact, I’m still riding the high I experienced while reading Humble Roots, which she published in 2016. While I love reading (it’s about the only hobby I’ve got,) I’m not a skilled reader. It’s toilsome work for me to actually retain the material that I’m reading. But every once in a while, a book will come along that just blows my sockets – Humble Roots was one of those books.
And while this one didn’t warrant the same response, it remains an invaluable book, especially considering the state of our current culture, a culture hell-bent on dwelling on what’s false, dishonorable, unjust, impure, and unlovely – the antithesis of what Paul calls his reader to in Philippians. So, All That’s Good is not just a truly good book, it’s a timely book. So take Andrew Wilson’s advice, “buy it, read it, and think about such things!”