More Questions than Answers by Eleanor Shepherd {book review}

What an interesting concept! Have you ever felt as though no one is listening?  Have you ever felt like you need to work on your listening skills?  I think this book is definitely for both groups. You’ll probably learn more about the act of listening in the first section of this book than you’ve ever learned before.

Eleanor Shepherd explains in the introduction that there are three parts to the book.  Those parts are The Listening Process, Discovering and Sharing Faith, and The Source.  She has figured out that her audience is probably not all on the exact same playing field when it comes to faith.  She even tells us to skip around the book based on where you are at this moment.

Our level of faith may waiver throughout our lives.  This is great to keep as reference as we are either growing closer to Him or if we find ourselves drifting away.

I was struck by the short story at the beginning of Chapter 5 on being authentic.  The story itself is powerful but what Eleanor said next is truly a quote to live by.  “We need to show that we live what we believe.  Then it is clear that the power does not come from us.”  I’m sure we’ve all run into people that profess they are living by God’s laws but yet they are living in fear, harboring ill thoughts or are picking and choosing which commandments they can break.  Actions always have spoken louder than words.

I will say that this was not a quick read and I am a fast reader! It is a book to study rather than glance through in the midst of other things or when you have time.  I found that if I read during a time I’d be distracted I had to start the page over.  It’s so full of pertinent tips and stories that I didn’t want to miss anything.  

One surprise came at the end of the book. I don’t usually peruse the appendix at the end of a book.  I am so happy I did so I can tell you about the study she included.  There are four sections to each one.  Scripture input, active reflection, prayer, and a journaling exercise are laid out for you.  There is also an appendix two but you’ll have to check out the book to find out what that’s all about!

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Bio: 

Eleanor Shepherd spent thirty years in ministry after ordination as an officer of The Salvation Army.  Along with her engagement in pastoral ministry and administration, she contributed over 85 articles, mainly to Salvation Army publications. These were distributed in a variety of periodicals in Canada, the USA, France, Germany and New Zealand.

Her degree in Psychology equipped her for learning the listening skills that she uses in spiritual accompaniment relationships. A venue where she has been able to apply them is in the leadership of College and Careers Bile study groups. She undertook this leadership in Montreal and Toronto along with Glen, her husband of forty years, who was also a Salvation Army officer. One of these experiences led to the conversion of a young Moslem and Eleanor published his story in Power for Living, the Scripture Press adult take home paper. Their College and Careers group field-tested the Bible study book created by the Shepherds, Why Families?

Prayer has played an important part in Eleanor’s life. For fifteen years, she has been a
member of the Intercessors, an international prayer ministry begun by Catherine Marshall. She has
done workshops and seminars on prayer and created a personal prayer support network for the
ministry of her husband and herself.

This network proved particularly valuable to the Shepherds when their 30-year-old son, John broke his neck in a car accident six years ago and became a quadriplegic. John was a student at Harvard Business School at the time and the Shepherds were serving with The Salvation Army in France.

Prayer and writing are intertwined for Eleanor in that she is a member of the prayer support
team of The Word Guild, a professional writers’ association to which she belongs. In addition,
she was for many years a prayer partner for Lin Johnson, the organizer of The Write-to-Publish
conference in Wheaton.

As well as writing, Eleanor along with her husband has spoken at many conferences,
particularly for clergy in Canada, the USA, France, Belgium, Switzerland, South Africa, Haiti and
Jamaica.

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