Bill Delvaux. Divided: When the Head and the Heart Don’t Agree. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2015. See here to buy the book.
Christians intellectually believe certain ideas, but their heads and their hearts do not always agree. They may have heard in church for years that they are accepted and loved by God, but deep down they do not feel accepted, and they question their own worth. They may intellectually accept the idea that God will take care of them, yet they contend with fear and anxiety. Their Bible study can include a lot of analysis yet fail to reach down into their hearts and genuinely transform their attitudes. In some cases, they may be dealing with unresolved trauma from their past (i.e., abuse, failures, horrible experiences, etc.).
In Divided: When the Head and the Heart Don’t Agree, Bill Delvaux addresses this issue, as he shares his own stories and experiences. Delvaux admits that he is a work in progress. He says that he still contends with fear. He even tells a story about how he and his wife were sharing with each other about where they believe they have spiritually grown. Bill said that he has become less self-centered, and his wife disagreed with him on that, prompting him to become angry, and to wonder later why exactly he became angry. (I would be angry, too, if I thought I reached a milestone after much effort, only to be told that I had not reached it. But, then again, I would probably not be sharing with people where I thought I had spiritually grown. I’d rather not open that can of worms!)
Delvaux shares ways that Christians can find healing and align their head with their heart. Delvaux stresses the importance of Christian community, particularly community in which people vulnerably can share their own stories and thus find validation and not feel as alone, as well as the importance of undivided focus on God. On community, Delvaux should have offered ideas on how people, particularly people with social challenges, can find a community where it is safe to be vulnerable or to share; he did refer to therapists, however, and to reading people’s stories. On having an undivided focus on God, Delvaux asks excellent questions, such as whether this means that he cannot have other interests. As far as I could tell, however, he did not revisit these questions, though he did indicate that he still had hobbies and interests (while noting the danger of idolizing them).
The book is a bit meandering. Delvaux in one place talks about movies, and I was not entirely sure what point he was trying to make. Yet, the book is good because it has an intellectual quality, which is not surprising to me, since Delvaux has attended Duke University and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I particularly appreciated Delvaux’s discussion of the Adam and Eve story, as he argues that Adam and Eve try to gain knowledge for self-aggrandizement and power rather than accepting that they are known by God. Delvaux’s point that God chose Abraham to show nations a walk with God also stood out to me, as did his story about how Thomas Aquinas had a profound experience with Christ that made him see all of his great works as straw.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers (http://booklookbloggers.com/) program. The program does not require for my review to be positive, and my review reflects my honest reaction to the book.