Joyce Meyer,
In Pursuit of Peace
(Time Warner, 2004)

When I first looked at the front cover of the audiobook In Pursuit of Peace by Joyce Meyer, I noted that she was going to talk about "21 ways to conquer anxiety, fear, and discontentment." As I was not familiar with Joyce Meyer, nor had I read her bio on the back of the box, I thought she was yet another self-help promoter. I did not realize that I was about to listen to a six-hour sermon. Joyce is a Christian. She "has been teaching the Word of God since 1976 and in full-time ministry since 1980."

Whenever I review religious material for Rambles.NET (be it Christian, Buddhist, whatever), I tend to tune out the religious agenda to determine if there is anything that might appeal to the masses. When I first started listening to In Pursuit of Peace, this was very difficult. Joyce constantly mentions passages from the Bible and brings all her points back to her particular Christian perspective. Hence, the six-hour sermon referenced earlier. However, for those non-Christians out there, most, if not all, of the 21 pointers can be removed from the religious context Joyce has placed them in and be treated as common sense.

For example, one of the points Joyce makes towards finding peace is in regards to money. Basically put, live within your means. Put money aside for the future, yet give yourself a little to enjoy in the now at the same time. If buying a big, fancy car with huge payments is going to give you more grief trying to make those payments every month than peace at owning the vehicle, then don't buy it. That seems like simple logic. Joyce continues with the money theme pointing out that Christians should tithe 10 percent to the church. She states that by giving to God, he will give more to you. God wants people to have money and enjoy life. But you have to show that you know how to properly deal with it before he will give it to you.

Another point Joyce makes is to take time for yourself. We all need down time to recharge our batteries. In today's world, we are constantly on the go. We have more "things we have to do" than we have time to do them. All this running around leads to burnout. According to Joyce, you need to rest, just as the Lord did, every seven days. For those of you who are "highly effective," then you have a habit of "sharpening the saw." Some of you might be into meditation instead. The point is that everyone needs downtime to work on their inner peace. Joyce has molded this point, like the other 20, to her Christian viewpoint.

The book starts out with an introduction by Joyce before being narrated by Pat Lentz. Pat has a very professional voice. It is very clear and crisp, yet doesn't project a lot of emotion. I was immediately reminded of "The number you have dialed..." voice you hear on the phone. Joyce had a very rough childhood and did not have peace for the first several decades of her life. The voice of God (that others might equate to intuition, their conscience, a non-Christian deity, etc.) has taught her that pursuing peace is constant work, but "you reap what you sow" and peace is certainly more appealing than strife.

In short, my opinion is that In Pursuit of Peace will predominantly appeal to a niche market -- Christians and those seeking the Christian god. However, for those of you who like good advice, regardless where it comes from, and can take from it what you will while filtering out what does not pertain to you, this book might be useful. Joyce has already helped me find a little peace. During my daily commute home from work recently, another driver sped up to pull in front of me and then slammed on his brakes to make a right turn even though there were no vehicles behind me and he could have slipped behind me without disrupting my commute. Instead of shouting and giving the one-finger salute, I followed Joyce's response to a similar incident. I thought, "Bless you! You must be in a hurry!" Now wasn't that more peaceful than the alternative?

- Rambles
written by Wil Owen
published 30 April 2005

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