Friday, January 8, 2010

Simple Compassion

Author Keri Wyatt Kent
Publisher: Zondervan
October 2009
ISBN: 978-0-310-29077-3
Genre: Inspirational/devotional

SIMPLE COMPASSION is a fifty-two-week devotional designed to help you come up with creative compassion. Ms. Kent shares some personal stories, along with biblical stories to help you learn how small acts of ordinary women can lead to meaningful change.

Ms. Kent intends to show a clear vision of God’s heart for the poor and marginalized, and hopes to help you to move beyond asking “What difference can I make?” to actually making a difference.

A leader’s guide is included at the end of the book with scripture references, outlines, and other notes, making this ideal for a small group study.

Ms. Kent says in her book, on page 21, “I’m not looking to pick a fight with conservatives. Well, okay—maybe I am.” That statement turned me off right there. I am unabashedly conservative, and well, at that point I had to force myself to not look for potential differences in our beliefs.

The book does have some really good community (and global) compassion acts mentioned in the book, such as, every time you want to drink a beverage other than water, forgo that beverage and put the money it would cost in a jar and then donate it to a charity that helps provide clean water for people. There are other good ideas too.

If you are looking for ways to be more compassionate to others, or are looking for a book for your small group, then SIMPLE COMPASSION is a book you should consider. I would appreciate it if the scripture readings were included with the devotional, instead of at the end of the book, and if there were lines included for note-taking, but one could use a spiral notebook just as well. $12.99. 255 pages.

Simple Compassion Challenge:
Take the ideas from Simple Compassion to the next level by implementing them. Choose to intentionally perform one "act of compassion" per week for the month of January. It could be as simple as writing a note of encouragement to a friend or as involved as giving up a Saturday to take sandwiches to the homeless in your area. Feel free to be creative, the only stipulation is to be intentional. Then tell us about your experience(s) either on your blog or at (details on how to post your video there will be found on our tour site).

Simple Compassion: Devotions to Make a Difference in Your Neighborhoods and Your World (Oct. 2009) encourages readers to start small, think big and work together to change the world - one act of simple compassion at a time. Author and speaker Keri Wyatt Kent inspires readers to make a difference in their own lives and initiate a ripple effect touching their families, communities, cities and the world.

Through 52 weekly readings, Kent provides a blueprint for a compassionate life. Readers who embark on this year-long journey and commit to living out the weekly devotions will radically change their lives and the world around them. Simple Compassion is an ideal resource for individuals and small groups who want to make a difference but don't know where to start. Kent empowers readers to take small, manageable steps towards a more compassionate world.

"I wanted readers to know that making a difference is not as hard as they think it is: anyone can take just a small step," says Kent. "The problems of the world may seem overwhelming. But if each person were to help one other person, it would make a huge difference. It would change the world..."

Shane Claiborne, author of the bestselling The Irresistible Revolution says, "True devotions are not just books filled with fluffy stories and neat anecdotes, but books that should stir us to devote our lives to something bigger than ourselves... Simple Compassion is a weekly reminder that things are not right in the world, that this matters to God and perhaps strangest of all, that God doesn't want to change the world without us."

Simple Compassion is divided into four sections. The first helps the reader understanding their worth and the worth of others. The second looks at simple ways to show compassion to the family, friends and strangers in their communities. The third goes broader and focuses on showing the love of Christ to their cities and towns. The last section offers steps of compassion and social justice on a global scale.

Each weekly reading ends with two application steps, one for individuals and one to help groups reading the book together connect and encourage one another. These include elements of self-reflection, studying Biblical stories and honestly engaging with group members. She also challenges readers to take practical steps toward compassion, such as bringing someone a cold bottle of water, hanging anti-human trafficking posters or highlighting lower income areas on a map of the reader's town and spending time praying for the marked areas, then visiting a church in the area to listen and ask questions.

A leader's guide is included with insights and additional suggested Bible verses for each week.

Simple Compassion
By Keri Wyatt Kent
ISBN - 9780310290773
272 Pages
PUB DATE: October 2009

Author bio: Keri Wyatt Kent worked as a reporter for fifteen years before writing her first book and is the author of several books, including Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity (Zondervan) Breathe (Revell) and Listen (Jossey-Bass). When she's not busy traveling around the country to speak and lead retreats, she's writing. She's a regular contributor to several magazines, including MomSense and Outreach magazine, as well as several websites and blogs. She's a member of Willow Creek Community Church, where she has taught, led groups and volunteered in a variety of ministries over the last 22 years. She and her husband Scot have two teenage children and live in Illinois.

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Keri Wyatt Kent said...

Thanks so much for the review. I love your honest opinions. I very resepectfully do want to point out the context of my "picking a fight with conservatives." I'm conservative on some issues as well (I'm pro-life, for example). The statement you mention came in a chapter on the roles of women in the church. The chapter is about Priscilla, a woman who taught men about theology in the Bible. I am talking about a specific issue where I disagree with a more conservative viewpoint, one that says women can't lead or teach men. Based on the Biblical story of Priscilla, I disagree with that particular viewpoint. I'm not saying I disagree with all conservatives about everything--that would be impossible since there are a wide variety of opinions that could be called "conservative."
I so appreciate your review and just wanted to clarify. I'd love to discuss it further if this is not clear.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for participating in the tour!