The Seven Stories That Shape Your Life: Discover Your God Given Purpose, by Gerard Kelly
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Kregel Book Tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
When I first heard this book I was greatly interested in reading. I thought that maybe the book would have some sort of exciting stories to tell or literary references to stories and types of stories. I was wrong. Shortly after beginning this book it became clear that the book erred strongly on the side of heart rather than head, and was little concerned with matters of biblical truth or knowledge. As soon as the author started pitting the loving intention of God’s creation against the intelligent design, and that was somewhere in the first 80 pages, I knew this book was going to be lacking something important. From there, the book only got worse, as my initial impressions that the book had the right heart if not the right head became a growing conviction that not only was the book dangerously wrongheaded, but it was based on an entirely ungodly social gospel  worldview as opposed to merely being someone with muddled thoughts but a loving heart. The result was that this book, while I opened it with a great deal of hope, ended up being immensely disappointing very quickly, and ended up being more of a testament to what not to do as a book as opposed to a book I would recommend to anyone.
In one sense, the book exhibits truth in advertising in that it talks about seven stories. According to the author, the seven stories that shape our lives are: creation, vocation, liberation, formation, limitation, incarnation, and restoration. Nothing is wrong with those seven stories per se, and there are at least some biblical stories that the author uses in support of his ideas, although there are not as many biblical stories cited and quoted and a lot of his own personal commentary. This would not be objectionable if the author’s comments were biblical or wise or thoughtful, but instead they were stereotypical white guilt, a desire to avoid facing up to the rigorous demands of biblical law on personal morality, and instead a near total focus on social issues and the belief that if one had a missional focus that one automatically had God’s pleasure and that the law was not necessary as a guide to moral perfection. Before one gets too far into the book, the more one reads about the author’s inability to see the family of God apart from the nonbiblical Trinitarian construct, and the more one reads the author’s pandering to contemporary sociocultural mores and pluralism, the less one has confidence in anything the author says.
Indeed, a great deal of this author’s commentary makes it plain what sort of company he keeps. He praises progressive socialists and their misguided political worldviews. He shows a total disinterest in correct biblical understanding of law and morality, except for the social kind. He praises liberation theology and false ragamuffin gospels and shows himself to be deeply interested in feminism and praising contemporary multiculturalism. Over and over again the author quotes fellow Hellenistic theologians and shows himself more interested in a shallow fell-good ecumenical sort of Christianity than anything the Bible is about. This is the sort of book that takes pride in all of the radicals and social justice warriors who support the author and his message, and not nearly enough attention to dealing with the demands of godliness outside of the author’s sight. One of the unintentionally truest thing the author says is that God isn’t looking for us to point out the sins of others, but rather for us to confess our own–this is an author looking to peddle white guilt and encourage people to be social justice mission-minded people in their own areas, but the author is quick to point out social sins and not nearly quick enough to point out the lack of personal morality that plagues the social justice movement and its proponents. Ultimately, this book would have been better off if it had remained a tree.
 See, for example: