Included in Christ Review

Book Review: 

Included in Christ by Heather Holleman is intended to be an 8-week study of Ephesians, working through the book five days each week. During the study, you will read through the book of Ephesians many times, which you would expect. What you might not expect in an 8-week long study of Ephesians is 8-weeks of mostly self-exploration, creating things dubbed a "Signature Story/Savior Story" and your "Shadow Narrative." This is why it is important to consider subtitles when scoping out a new book. This book's subtitle is "Living a New Story from Ephesians." Now not that this subtitle screams, "Whoa!," but it should at least mutter "Hmmmm…." when you see it. A quick read-through of the introduction will explain just how psychology- and therapy-rooted this "Bible study" is. Not that psychology or therapy is a bad thing! On the contrary! However, when I think of a Bible study, the first thing I think of is NOT psychotherapy.
Holleman explains how she "collects" verbs that "transform her soul" and that she uses a method of study that is focused on both words and pictures. The student of this study will construct a Shadow Narrative about "the dominant stories that keep you wounded." Holleman is a writing professor and studied "the psychology of emotion for five years to earn her Ph.D., studying shame and guilt." She encourages the student of this study to learn about "the power of writing, sharing words in community, and revising our stories with a new lens." She explains about all the benefits of "positive psychology and cognitive restructuring."
I am a Bible student, learning how to study the one, true meaning of a Scriptural passage by learning about the author's original intent with his original words, written in their original language. Holleman's type of "speak" doesn't do much for me. For a deeper dive into the book of Ephesians, in a similar format, minus the psychotherapy, check out Kay Arthur's Free From Bondage God's Way.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Moody Publishers. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.