Discovering His Image: Exploding From The Inside Out, by Jennefer Payne
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/WestBow Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
If you have a taste for awkward religious poetry, this is the book for you . To be sure, I read my fair share or more of good poetry , but this falls onto the side of bad poetry. Sometimes the line can be difficult to determine. What makes this book difficult to enjoy is not so much the quality but the content of the poems. Reading this book makes someone painfully aware that the poet responsible has ulterior motives. Specifically, the author wishes to promote gnostic spirituality under the guise of being Christian poems, and makes the fatuous claim that what the author is talking about is so plainly biblical that no citations or discussion of the biblical warrant for her claims is necessary. On top of this, the book has an introduction from a self-appointed apostle, meaning that this book is likely to be some sort of evangelistic tool. The quality of these poems being as modest as they are, the book as a whole suffers for the mindset and motives of the author responsible. Had this just been a book of poetry, it could have been enjoyed as a modest pleasure, but as a tool for dissemination of heresy, it is vastly less enjoyable.
When one looks at the contents and structure of this book, there are two levels of structure that are involved. At the base level, this book is made up of a variety of short poems that all have an AABB format, with vastly inconsistent meter. Some of the poems read in pleasant iambic tetrameter, while others are in anapest or other meters, seemingly at random with little attention paid to how the poem is supposed to be scanned by the reader. Ultimately, though, the poems are merely in service to the larger aims of the book as a whole, which, as discussed previously, are somewhat blameworthy. Here the structure is based on thematic concerns, as the short poems are combined with pictures and placed in chapters about the Holy Spirit or about being privileged and having special insight about God, or encouragement, or something else of that nature. Yet the poems themselves do not end up encouraging; rather, the poetry of this book is very emotional in its mindset, wrestling with the common gnostic concern  of eternal security. The poet, and presumably the ideal reader of this book, wrestle with the tension between an intellectual belief in eternal security and the emotional experiences of ups and downs, of hope and despair, that make people doubt whether they truly are called or not.
This book is a reminder of something that is easy to forget when it comes to writing: sometimes people are better off making more modest works. Had this work been a genuinely encouraging book without having a religious aim in mind, this would have been a moderately enjoyable work. It would have been modest, it would have had the same odd inconsistency from line to line when it came to meter, but it would have been a pleasure. Adding layers to a work, in this case the desire to promote a particular religious worldview and unbiblical ideas about the divine spark being within believers, detracts from the overall enjoyment of reading this. This is something many of us who write with a variety of layers would do well to remember, since there is a strong likelihood that we may add layers too many for the enjoyment of our writing by others, and that would be a great shame, as it turns a work that would have been enjoyable into one that was simply a tedious chore to read because one was reading without the goodwill that makes a book pleasant. Caveat lector.
 See, for example:
 See, for example:
 See, for example: