Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Book Review - Rid of My Disgrace

Rid of My Disgrace, written by Justin & Lindsey Holcomb is a new book that was recommended from Mars Hill Church in Seattle. I ordered it and read it through.

Rid of My Disgrace is addressed to sexual assault victims. It recognizes the tremendous hurt victims of sexual assault experience but unlike other books, points the victims directly to Christ, instead of asking them to heal themselves. The authors say, "What grace offers to the victim experiencing disgrace is the gift of refuting distortions and faulty thinking and replacing their condemning, counterfactual beliefs with more accurate ones that reflect the truths about God, yourself, and God's grace-filled response to your disgrace." (p. 45)

The first section, entitled "Disgrace" defines sexual assault and talks about its effects. The second section, "Grace Applied", deals with the many possible emotions and responses of a victim. It includes a personal story for each response. The third, "Grace Accomplished", looks at sexual assault from the perspective of sin, grace in the Old Testament and grace in the New Testament.

I think this is a tremendously helpful book both for victims and Christians wishing to help sexual assault victims. The theology is sound and points back to Christ and the grace He has extended to all. It honestly discusses the many feelings a victim can have and shows how God's grace extends to each in order to have healing. They don't try to whitewash any of these emotions but deal with them honestly and in a straight-forward way.

The notes are extensive at the back of the book. One interesting feature is that Scripture is footnoted and notes are endnotes. I liked having the scripture references, which are many, immediately available.

My only disappointment with this book is that I got to the end and it was done. In that, I mean that I was looking for a conclusion and a "what now" response at the end. Certainly each chapter exhorts the reader to consider how change is possible for Christ but I felt like there could have been a broader summary, both for victims and counselors.

I am happy to see this type of book being written. I think that churches and Christians can be perceived as "having it all together" and that those experiencing brokenness will not find acceptance in the church. It's possible for a church to never address real problems of assault and brokenness. Books like this one help to dispell that image and encourage those within the church to reach out to those who need the help, both inside and outside the church.