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All That's Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment

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“And God saw that it was good…” Look out over the world today, it seems a far cry from God’s original declaration. Pain, conflict, and uncertainty dominate the headlines. Our daily lives are noisy and chaotic—filled with too much information and too little wisdom. No wonder we often find it easier to retreat into safe spaces, hunker down in likeminded tribes, and just do ou “And God saw that it was good…” Look out over the world today, it seems a far cry from God’s original declaration. Pain, conflict, and uncertainty dominate the headlines. Our daily lives are noisy and chaotic—filled with too much information and too little wisdom. No wonder we often find it easier to retreat into safe spaces, hunker down in likeminded tribes, and just do our best to survive life. But what if God wants you to do more than simply survive? What if he wants you to thrive in this world, and be part of its redemption? What if you could rediscover the beauty and goodness God established in the beginning? By learning the lost art of discernment, you can. Discernment is more than simply avoiding bad things; discernment actually frees you to navigate the world with confidence and joy by teaching you how to recognize and choose good things. When you learn discernment and develop a taste for all that’s good, you will encounter God in remarkable new ways. Come, discover the God who not only made all things, but who will also make all things good once again.


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“And God saw that it was good…” Look out over the world today, it seems a far cry from God’s original declaration. Pain, conflict, and uncertainty dominate the headlines. Our daily lives are noisy and chaotic—filled with too much information and too little wisdom. No wonder we often find it easier to retreat into safe spaces, hunker down in likeminded tribes, and just do ou “And God saw that it was good…” Look out over the world today, it seems a far cry from God’s original declaration. Pain, conflict, and uncertainty dominate the headlines. Our daily lives are noisy and chaotic—filled with too much information and too little wisdom. No wonder we often find it easier to retreat into safe spaces, hunker down in likeminded tribes, and just do our best to survive life. But what if God wants you to do more than simply survive? What if he wants you to thrive in this world, and be part of its redemption? What if you could rediscover the beauty and goodness God established in the beginning? By learning the lost art of discernment, you can. Discernment is more than simply avoiding bad things; discernment actually frees you to navigate the world with confidence and joy by teaching you how to recognize and choose good things. When you learn discernment and develop a taste for all that’s good, you will encounter God in remarkable new ways. Come, discover the God who not only made all things, but who will also make all things good once again.

30 review for All That's Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    In her latest book All That’s Good, Hannah Anderson stirs our appetite for goodness. There is a satisfying simplicity to her thesis that we ought to train ourselves in discernment by taking up Paul’s charge to the Philippians and seeking out “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable” in the world around us. But, as with all of Anderson’s books, her thesis has hidden depths. Anderson reminds us that in order to seek go In her latest book All That’s Good, Hannah Anderson stirs our appetite for goodness. There is a satisfying simplicity to her thesis that we ought to train ourselves in discernment by taking up Paul’s charge to the Philippians and seeking out “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable” in the world around us. But, as with all of Anderson’s books, her thesis has hidden depths. Anderson reminds us that in order to seek good, we must first believe that goodness exists in the world around us. The daily onslaught of news and information can overwhelm us and tempt us to “opt out of the struggle, to retreat into our safe spaces, hunker down, and stay in our comfort zones” (40). Developing discernment, however, gives us the courage to “see the world for what it was meant to be and believe that God is powerful enough to restore it to its intended purpose” (49). Each chapter begins with a personal anecdote about where Anderson has seen goodness in the world, in everything from baking blackberry pies to the history of tea to the experience of shopping at thrift stores. Readers who enjoyed her last book, Humble Roots, already know that Anderson chooses her metaphors masterfully, bringing rich truths to life through vivid illustrations. For example, she describes a family trip to Paris where they saw a statue in the Louvre that was beautiful even though it showed signs that it had been “manhandled.” Anderson uses this image to illustrate how we can develop a discerning eye that sees beauty even in broken things. We can recognize the masterful work of the artist even after damage has been done. And such appreciation can renew our longing for the creator of all good things to come and renew his creation. One of the important distinctions Anderson makes is that goodness is something we pursue, not something we preserve. In her chapter “Whatever is Pure”, Anderson makes clear that purity is not simply a matter of avoiding evil. If it were, we might be right to simply avoid the world, with its mixed bag of good and evil. Instead, Anderson suggests that although discernment takes courage, the alternative is a fearful naivete. Thus, “the best way to preserve someone’s innocence is to show them the difference between good and evil and teach them how to pursue whatever is pure” (128). I’ve always loved Rosaria Butterfield’s reminder that “Sin isn’t something other people track in our front door” because her words remind me that my primary job as a Christian isn’t to avoid being contaminated by sin, but to remember that the temptation to sin already lives in me. Discernment offers us a courageous freedom. With it, I can venture out into the world (and let the things of this world into my heart and mind). What I appreciated most about this book was that it reminded me to enjoy the world. We were meant to respond to goodness, and the world is full of beautiful things that not only “draw us to themselves” but also “draw us beyond themselves to a greater reality than either of us” (136). Anderson’s book teaches us to go back to our own lives and look for those things which draw us out of ourselves so that we can see how all our desires point back to the creator of all good things. “We find his goodness binding our hearts to Him, drawing us on, ever pursuing, ever seeking, ever searching until that glorious day when the beauty of the Lord finally rests upon us” (145). For those who tend to overthink everything (like me!) and for those who tend to follow their emotions, All That’s Good illustrates how discernment trains us to join our desire with our intellect. Discernment helps us distinguish “right and almost right” (borrowing Spurgeon’s definition), so that we can learn to desire good things. “There are many who say, ‘Who will show us some good?” says the Psalmist. All That’s Good reminds us there is plenty of good for those who have eyes to see it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    NinaB

    This is not a bad book, just seemed incomplete and is too anecdotal, which is one of my complaints about books written by women. Scripture was mentioned, but not emphasized. The book subtitle is a little misleading. The author tried too hard to fit Philippians 4:8 into her illustrations and explanations in each chapter. To summarize her points - in order to be discerning, seek all that’s good. And those good things we go after, God has intended to direct our hearts to love Him as we ought. Some This is not a bad book, just seemed incomplete and is too anecdotal, which is one of my complaints about books written by women. Scripture was mentioned, but not emphasized. The book subtitle is a little misleading. The author tried too hard to fit Philippians 4:8 into her illustrations and explanations in each chapter. To summarize her points - in order to be discerning, seek all that’s good. And those good things we go after, God has intended to direct our hearts to love Him as we ought. Some parts of it, particularly her take on social media engagement, are recycled information. I’m surprised this book made it into a few top 10 book lists by evangelical bloggers and authors. If you want to learn more about discernment, I highly recommend any of Nancy Pearcey’s books, Think! By John Piper or The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment by Tim Challies.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marci A. Ferrell

    All That's Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment reminded me that discernment is a skill that's learned over time. There are no shortcuts, and when we look for them, we can find ourselves undermining the growth process. Hannah reminds us discernment isn't just a mindless checklist of do's and don'ts. It is seeing what isn't good but doing it without a critical spirit. She walks us through Philippians 4:8 for the various decisions we have to make in our lives, the hope is we would check ou All That's Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment reminded me that discernment is a skill that's learned over time. There are no shortcuts, and when we look for them, we can find ourselves undermining the growth process. Hannah reminds us discernment isn't just a mindless checklist of do's and don'ts. It is seeing what isn't good but doing it without a critical spirit. She walks us through Philippians 4:8 for the various decisions we have to make in our lives, the hope is we would check our motives, pause, and evaluate all our choices in light of those virtues. God is a God who gives good gifts. The Scriptures are more concerned we become wise people, and wise people make good decisions. Discerning people make discerning decisions. Spiritual growth is growing in our ability to see the world the way God does. As we continue to grow in maturity and Christlikeness, we will continue to gain the eyes and perspective of Christ and through that process become more discerning people. Our hope is, by the grace of God, that we cultivate hearts that long to be like God in this world. It was a good read and one I highly recommend. "When we pursue whatever things are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable, we are actually pursuing the character of God. When we seek these 'treasures of heaven,' He will make a way for us to find Him."~ Hannah Anderson

  4. 5 out of 5

    Deon

    kindle edition is $1.59 Dec 29, 2018 amzn.to/2DXXPZg Excellent book, best book of 2018! kindle edition is $1.59 Dec 29, 2018 amzn.to/2DXXPZg Excellent book, best book of 2018!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    Shortly before starting this book, I had been challenge with personally pursuing spiritual discernment in a deeper way. And as Hannah mentions at the start of the book, I was like many in thinking that meant I needed to find better ways to avoid the bad - avoid the weak and undesirable traits in myself or outside influences that were “not that great.” What I hadn’t considered was this whole concept of pursuing goodness. I also didn’t know going into reading it how she would break down the famili Shortly before starting this book, I had been challenge with personally pursuing spiritual discernment in a deeper way. And as Hannah mentions at the start of the book, I was like many in thinking that meant I needed to find better ways to avoid the bad - avoid the weak and undesirable traits in myself or outside influences that were “not that great.” What I hadn’t considered was this whole concept of pursuing goodness. I also didn’t know going into reading it how she would break down the familiar Philippians 4:8 - “Whatever is true ... think on these things.” The focus on this verse and surrounding passages, to me, added the depth needed to really grasp this idea of discernment. I am truly grateful for how Hannah so accessibly walks readers through this. Another aspect I personally loved was how she uniquely applied each chapter with a personal illustration - whether it was the sharing of a family vacation anecdote, the incorporating of strategy games into their home life, or the shopping in thrift stores to find treasures(definitely connected with that 😁). These really helped connect the ideas within the book, give personal stories to relate to, and help the chapters read quickly. I truly had a hard time putting this book down once I got going. Highly recommend. 5 stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    When Hannah writes something, whether it’s a tweet or a book, I read closely and carefully, and my attention is always richly rewarded by her thoughtful words. This book is no exception—I did a lot of underlining!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Adam Shields

    Short Review: I so much appreciate that Hannah Anderson starts All That's Good with an exploration of a vision for goodness, “...in trying to keep myself safe, in obsessing over making the “right” choices, I found myself making a whole lot of wrong ones. Because I lacked a vision for goodness, I also lacked discernment.” (Page 12) The main section of All That's Good (pages 63 to 154) is an extended meditation on Philippians 4:8, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is Short Review: I so much appreciate that Hannah Anderson starts All That's Good with an exploration of a vision for goodness, “...in trying to keep myself safe, in obsessing over making the “right” choices, I found myself making a whole lot of wrong ones. Because I lacked a vision for goodness, I also lacked discernment.” (Page 12) The main section of All That's Good (pages 63 to 154) is an extended meditation on Philippians 4:8, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV). In many ways (all good) this feels like the type of meditation on scripture that Eugene Peterson writes. It isn’t a word for word bible study, it is a practical exploration, not just the biblical concepts of the passage, but also of what that means to how we live our lives. The practice of discernment as it is explored is not primarily thought of as a spiritual gift given to some (although that is one aspect of discernment for some people), but a skill that is develop over time. That skill, along with necessary components of humility, wisdom, virtue, the right understanding of goodness, not just the avoidance of evil but the knowledge of good, and a touch of shrewdness, allows us to rightly see the world around us. My full review is on my blog at http://bookwi.se/all-thats-good/ --------- Second Reading: Summary: Discernment is a spiritual gift, something that all Christians should work to develop, and a role of a community of Christian practice  Any regular readers of Bookwi.se probably know that I started a graduate certificate program in Spiritual Direction last fall. I intentionally chose to do my training with a Catholic university because I wanted to challenge my blind spots. Most of the books we are assigned are by Catholic authors, and I often pick up a book by a Protestant author to read in conversation. Because I have previously read All That's Good, I knew it would be helpful to read with Weeds Among the Wheat by Thomas Green. Both books are about developing or teaching discernment, but they approach the topic very differently, and the tension between that difference was constructive. All That's Good is the third book in a trilogy of books about discipleship. Weeds Among the Wheat is a manual for Spiritual Directors to teach and partner with their directees in discernment. For the average person, I would recommend All That's Good as the better book to read, both because it is targeted at a more general reader and because it is full of stories and illustrations that are more applicable for the average person. I think what is most helpful about All That's Good is that 1) Anderson views discernment as a practice to be developed, 2) that for judgment to be fruitful, we need to know not just what is wrong, but even more important, what is right, and 3) that the tough thing about discernment is that often we are choosing not between what is right and wrong but from a range of things that are themselves are good, but attempting to find what is best right now. Both Anderson and Green approach developing discernment as an essential part of developing maturity. Anderson talks about helping her children learn to shop, not based on impulse, but a range of issues including need, quality, goodness, etc.. Green draws on Paul's illustration in I Cor 3 of trying to move people toward solid food and away from milk. And Anderson says, "In other words, you develop discernment by becoming a person who knows how, not simply what, to think." Both authors view discernment as moving from simple rules toward a more mature and nuanced understanding of ethics and discipleship. Largely, All That's Good is a meditation on Philippians 4: 6-8 with a chapter each on the qualities in verse 8. (Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.) Discernment for Anderson is both the big and small things, from what you purchase to what job I should take. I appreciate that she emphasizes that we learn how to discern big things by practicing discerning small things. Where Weeds Among Wheat has a different tack, it primarily talks about big issues of discernment and that knowing God is the central issue to rightly discerning. He has a central metaphor, picking out a necktie. Neckties are not moral decisions, but decisions of taste. The way to pick out the right necktie is not about the tie itself, or your taste, but of knowing the person that you are choosing the necktie for. The more in-depth knowledge and experience of the person, the more we understand not just what is right but what is suitable for the person. Anderson spends much of the book talking about developing a real understanding of what is true, noble, right, and pure so that we can learn discernment and be able to choose those things well. Where Anderson spends a bit less time (although she does spend some) is on developing these among communities not just individuals. It is one of the gifts of more episcopal or presbyterian traditions that make communal discernment a more central practice. In 2020, I think we need to think more clearly about our public discernment.  One of the quotes by Anderson that gets at this is, "Ultimately, utilitarianism becomes a threat to discernment when it teaches us to evaluate what is good and bad by earthly definitions of value. And when this happens, our churches become finely oiled machines with little room for beauty; our public witness is reduced to pragmatic political agendas; and our interpersonal relationships means to ends." This quote is in a section that talks about the ability to receive hard truths as a community. A community that cannot hear dissenting opinion is a community that cannot be discerning. While much of the book is rooted in developing the art of discernment among all people, there are times when we need people that are specially gifted to pull a community back to where it needs to be. So we need to be developing both the art of discernment among all people and developing the few members that seem uniquely gifted. I do not particularly think I am spiritually gifted in discernment, but I do understand her point when she shares a quick story: I can remember distinct times of being frustrated with people who couldn’t see what was so obvious to me. Why can’t they understand what’s happening? Why can’t they see that she’s manipulating them with her smiles and niceties? What will it take for them to recognize that he’s teaching falsehood? At one point, Nathan, tired of my angst, turned to me and said: “Hannah, if you actually have the gift of discernment, then you can’t expect other people to have it too. You can’t expect them to be who God has made you to be.” Here’s the hard truth: If you are entrusted with a certain gift, most of the people around you won’t be similarly gifted. They won’t be able to see as clearly because God has not equipped them to. But being gifted with discernment does not give you permission to be spiteful, arrogant, or judgmental toward them. As a culture, we are individualistically oriented. And so it is easy for discussion of discernment to be individualistic, especially because both authors rightly point out that discernment is a part of a maturing process. However, the focus of Green's work is to be a "Co-discerner...of the call of the Holy Spirit speaking within them." Learning both how to trust in discernment and vulnerably how to trust others in the art of discerning together is a skill that we need to be recovering.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I really enjoyed this book. The author uses Philippians 4:8-9 to guide the reader about discernment and pursuing what is good. The main point is that discernment is "developing a taste for what is good." She also emphasizes that to pursue the qualities mentioned in these verses is to become them. Our pursuit of these characteristics leads us to God (the source) and it changes us so that by seeking honesty, we become honest, etc. Anderson points out that we are bombarded with pseudo facts and hav I really enjoyed this book. The author uses Philippians 4:8-9 to guide the reader about discernment and pursuing what is good. The main point is that discernment is "developing a taste for what is good." She also emphasizes that to pursue the qualities mentioned in these verses is to become them. Our pursuit of these characteristics leads us to God (the source) and it changes us so that by seeking honesty, we become honest, etc. Anderson points out that we are bombarded with pseudo facts and have bought into the lie that more information equals more knowledge or wisdom. We have lost a shared reality so we have difficulty being unified with others because we can't agree on what is true. The author writes, "Surrounded by a mass of people, we feel unloved and misunderstood, for the simple fact that we've created millions worlds with a population of one." While we can't change our situation or go back to a simpler time, discernment helps us navigate these challenges and not only avoid what is evil, but embrace what is good. When we turn from God's goodness to look for goodness somewhere else (like Adam and Eve did), we only find evil. When we invest in temporary things, they have to constantly be replaced. Even our recognition of evil, though, is evidence that there is good, too. Anderson writes, "We feel the weight of injustice deep within us because the call of goodness is buried deep within us too." Good things draw us toward God. Beauty should always pull us further and further back to the source. A feel additional thoughts that were helpful to me are below: 1. We need to guard against making choices about what is good to be seen by others, instead of what is good in its own right. 2. Our faithfulness to those closest to us predicts our faithfulness to the larger community. 3. Naïveté and ignorance are not the same as discernment. "Having never encountered evil is not the same thing as knowing the difference between good and evil or knowing what to do when you do encounter it...the solution to impurity is not simply abstinence or ignorance; it is to purse whatever is pure...we become innocent of evil, not by preserving ignorance, but by becoming wise about what is good." 4. Philippians 4:8-9 gives us principles, not hard and fast rules, for developing a taste for what is good. We need to have grace and compassion for others who may apply the principles differently (discernment isn't to be used for our judgement, but for our protection). 5. We need to remember that we live in a broken world. "This doesn't mean we accept brokenness as good, but it does mean we accept the difference between goodness and perfection." There were many other thoughts that I marked in my book. Each chapter was helpful and I really loved the author's emphasis on the fact that goodness does exist and we are tasked with identifying, embracing and cultivating it—in ourselves and in the lives of those around us. It's really a hope-filled book. I also liked the the way she presented a real life situation or object in each chapter that helped illustrate what she was teaching. I think that will help me remember her points and it made the book feel more personable/relatable. It also gave examples of how to apply a biblical lens to everyday experiences. I often think authors (especially female authors) go overboard with relatability and casual "we're best friends now" tones, but, in my opinion, Anderson balances helpful real-life context and meatier truth from scripture (with all the conviction and encouragement that that brings). It's more personal anecdotes than I normally go for, but it didn't grate on me like some other books have. There are some good evaluation questions along the way and a study guide in the back for individual or group study. There's plenty to process and I could definitely see spending more time on each of the chapters (especially those dealing with each of the traits mentioned in Philippians 4:8-9). This book was both a comfort and a challenge to read. I love that combination!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Susy *MotherLambReads*

    In a time of such uglyness in the world it was refreshing to read about beauty and how to discern between evil and beauty. Evil does exists in the world BUT so does beauty. We must look for this beauty. "Despite all the pain, all the sorrow, all the questions, goodness still exists because God still exists. And because He does, He has not left us to sort through the mess alone." I long to be a reader a person with good discernement. I was encouraged by this book on how to cultivate that discernmen In a time of such uglyness in the world it was refreshing to read about beauty and how to discern between evil and beauty. Evil does exists in the world BUT so does beauty. We must look for this beauty. "Despite all the pain, all the sorrow, all the questions, goodness still exists because God still exists. And because He does, He has not left us to sort through the mess alone." I long to be a reader a person with good discernement. I was encouraged by this book on how to cultivate that discernment. And because I can't write out all that I am thinking I leave these quotes to better summarize my review: "You develop discernment by becoming a person who knows how, not simply what, to think." "We miss a world of good, beautiful things because we are so worried about making ourselves good and beautiful that we don’t have time to see that God has already made us good and beautiful through His Son. And we miss His good gifts because we are too busy trying to earn them." "You’ll never learn discernment until you start to apply it. You’ll never begin to understand the difference between good and bad and good and better until you do it. But as you do, as you seek all that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable, you’ll move from a place of not knowing what goodness looks like to finding it almost effortlessly." "And I can’t help but think that the work of cultivating discernment is part of the larger work that God is doing in the world. A work of rescue and redemption, of recovery and restoration. The work of making all things good once again."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sara Fukuda

    As I expected, this book was delicious. The author of another book I adored, “humble roots”, this gal has a way of writing that is both wonderful truth you already know in your heart, but refreshingly crisp and clear. Being real and raw here, discernment isn’t really my thing. I’m usually the kind of person who gets all giddy and happy to be social that I’ll just find words flowing out of my mouth that are not helpful, not pertinent or wise. In the last couple years I’ve been trying to pull mysel As I expected, this book was delicious. The author of another book I adored, “humble roots”, this gal has a way of writing that is both wonderful truth you already know in your heart, but refreshingly crisp and clear. Being real and raw here, discernment isn’t really my thing. I’m usually the kind of person who gets all giddy and happy to be social that I’ll just find words flowing out of my mouth that are not helpful, not pertinent or wise. In the last couple years I’ve been trying to pull myself back and listen more (far too often, failing) and think always before speaking. So I was a little afraid to read this book and discover all the ways I’m still failing. Instead I found encouragement, scripture, and beautiful stories that stuck in my brain. Her analogies about a record, and how having discernment in Christ’s body (church) is like a nut allergy stick with me in an extra special way. This is already way too long of a review so I’ll stop here. Read it for yourself!!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Carson Cooper

    I think everyone should read this book in 2020. It is profound, timely, challenging, uplifting, and practical. If you don't believe me go look at the highlights I have on the page for this and see what you think. Ok cool thanks. 5/5

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jodi Howard

    I don't think I consider myself a "discerning person" or someone with the gift of discernment. This book gave me so much insight and encourages believers to practice discerning and finding what is "good." And taking it a step further, discerning what is good versus what is better. There is so much to ponder and hard to put into a review but I will be chewing on this for awhile. I've read it twice already this year. Definitely recommend reading it in a group!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Manchester

    This is easily the best book on discernment I have ever read. It might be the only book I'd actually recommend for the subject. SUMMARY This book is different than what I thought it would be. I was expecting a book that dealt heavily (and fiercely) with our current "discernment blog" problem we have in the Reformed camp. While there might be some alluding to that, Anderson focuses more on rediscovering what discernment is, in the most positive sense. She will then go phrase-by-phrase through P This is easily the best book on discernment I have ever read. It might be the only book I'd actually recommend for the subject. SUMMARY This book is different than what I thought it would be. I was expecting a book that dealt heavily (and fiercely) with our current "discernment blog" problem we have in the Reformed camp. While there might be some alluding to that, Anderson focuses more on rediscovering what discernment is, in the most positive sense. She will then go phrase-by-phrase through Philippians 4:8, setting that up as the standard for true discernment. THE GOOD I can't state enough how much I loved this book. I also really enjoyed Anderson's teaching on what discernment actually is. For so long the word has been used solely in a negative sense. However, there is an active sense to discernment as well, a positive side to it. Paul would say in 1 Corinthians 13, "[Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth." Discernment isn't mostly about the negative wolf/tare finding. Rather, it's mostly delighting in all that's true, lovely, pure, and good. (Phil 4:8, again). The whole book is good, but once Anderson starts breaking down Philippians 4:8, the book becomes a completely different animal. Those chapters are worth reading every month for years. They're that rich and needed in our current climate and culture. The book ends with possibly the best chapter in the book, and easily the best analogy of the book (allergies). THE CHALLENGES I didn't really have any issues with the book outside of some of the examples she used fell a little flat for me. It's probably just the ruralness of the examples, but at the same time that ruralness is what I love about the author. It helps provide her with a very unique perspective. CONCLUSION Read it, and read it often. Five stars.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rose Elliott

    This book was so helpful. Her method of taking Philippians 4:8-9, breaking it down, and discussing it virtue by virtue, chapter by chapter is excellent. I appreciate the levels of thoughtfulness placed in each chapter of the book, and love the section for review and discussion at the end! I would love to take a study group through this book now that I've read it. This book is an excellent resource that is not focused on prescribing the exact things you should think and believe, but rather on cul This book was so helpful. Her method of taking Philippians 4:8-9, breaking it down, and discussing it virtue by virtue, chapter by chapter is excellent. I appreciate the levels of thoughtfulness placed in each chapter of the book, and love the section for review and discussion at the end! I would love to take a study group through this book now that I've read it. This book is an excellent resource that is not focused on prescribing the exact things you should think and believe, but rather on cultivating *how* to think and *how* to come to what you believe. She provides a balanced perspective on truth, justice, purity, and all the virtues listed in those last verses of Philippians. Even as I read, I found myself thinking about situations, discussions, debates, issues, etc. that I could apply these chapters to. As I read this book, I was rebuked, encouraged, and directed back to Scripture time and again. I live the suburban/city life now, but I was raised rurally. Her rural analogies felt like coming home. Along with her analogies, I appreciate that she taught by example. She was not setting herself up as the perfect teacher, but rather teaching us through her experiences, perspectives, and mistakes. Through what she has learned through Scripture and experience, she has taught those who read her book. Hannah's books have been on my TBR for a long time, and I am so glad this was the first one I picked up!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Megan Lane

    Okay, so, I didn't finish allll of this book, in that I didn't finish the study guide section at the back. But I wanted to wait to do it with someone when I read it again later. Which I will do. Because this book is AMAZING. Honestly. At its simplest, it's "just" an exposition of Philippians 4:4-8. But an exposition with profound impact. It's easy to read that passage and come away with feelings of how we must holy-ify our thought life. As if it has no application to our words and songs and action Okay, so, I didn't finish allll of this book, in that I didn't finish the study guide section at the back. But I wanted to wait to do it with someone when I read it again later. Which I will do. Because this book is AMAZING. Honestly. At its simplest, it's "just" an exposition of Philippians 4:4-8. But an exposition with profound impact. It's easy to read that passage and come away with feelings of how we must holy-ify our thought life. As if it has no application to our words and songs and actions and friendships. Discernment is not an option. We must learn it and we must teach it to our children. And no, avoiding hard topics and only discussing "safe" things is not discernment. So yeah, I plan on rereading this. Multiple times. I recommend it. Fully. Please read it. Share it. Give it. I love it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    Hannah Anderson does a wonderful job of taking the reader through the idea of discernment. As Christians in a world that does not value what is true, how are we to know how to live? The author does a wonderful job of helping the reader navigate that question in light of Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, thi Hannah Anderson does a wonderful job of taking the reader through the idea of discernment. As Christians in a world that does not value what is true, how are we to know how to live? The author does a wonderful job of helping the reader navigate that question in light of Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Anderson uses examples and events from her own life to help the reader better grasp truth. She is not overly preachy and has a good balance between her thoughts and emotions. One of my favorite bits of the book is where she talks about pursuing what is beautiful. As an artist who is a Christian, I have definitely felt the lack of support for such a "frivolous" career. Anderson argues for us to value beauty when she comments on the story of the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, "Like it did for the rich young ruler, a utilitarian mindset has the potential to lock us into the horizontal plane by convincing us that physical reality is ultimate, the survival of our physical life most important. Such a mindset does not understand the need to sacrifice for beautiful, lovely things. Such a mindset could potentially arrive in heaven and wonder why God spent so much money on streets of gold when asphalt would have done just as well." Her book is full of good truths that lead to deep thought. I would recommend this book to any believer.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rylee Paine

    I love how Anderson approaches common principles and communicates them in fresh and tangible ways. Her book about identity in God was basic but practical; her book on humility and rest is one of my favorites—so life-giving; in this book, Anderson teaches discernment through looking for the good, showing that true discernment requires a rearranging of values in our hearts. I never thought of discernment in this way before so I appreciated, again, Anderson’s fresh perspective on the topic. Some of I love how Anderson approaches common principles and communicates them in fresh and tangible ways. Her book about identity in God was basic but practical; her book on humility and rest is one of my favorites—so life-giving; in this book, Anderson teaches discernment through looking for the good, showing that true discernment requires a rearranging of values in our hearts. I never thought of discernment in this way before so I appreciated, again, Anderson’s fresh perspective on the topic. Some of the conversation and illustrations in this book weren’t as tangible and practical as her other books were for me, but I still thought this was a good read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    *4.5* Using Philippians 4:8-9 as her guide, the author does an excellent job expounding the principals listed there as a foundation for discernment. This author is gifted with words, draws you in to the story around her point, and the chapters flow easily because of that. Sometimes I roll my eyes at using anecdotal stories to open each chapter, but this author’s stories actually were believable and fit the point of each chapter well. I highlighted many of her good, Biblical teachings on discernmen *4.5* Using Philippians 4:8-9 as her guide, the author does an excellent job expounding the principals listed there as a foundation for discernment. This author is gifted with words, draws you in to the story around her point, and the chapters flow easily because of that. Sometimes I roll my eyes at using anecdotal stories to open each chapter, but this author’s stories actually were believable and fit the point of each chapter well. I highlighted many of her good, Biblical teachings on discernment and plan to continue to come back to them for help.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Logan Price

    It's so refreshing when Christian writers can actually write well. Anderson uses beautiful analogies to draw the reader into seeing what Christian discernment looks like. There's no 5-step process or 30-day plan. Instead, the book is rooted in scripture and essentially encourages readers to spend so much time in Christian community and reading the Bible that they gradually learn how to see all that's good. Favorite Quote: The solution to impurity is not simply abstinence or ignorance; it is to pu It's so refreshing when Christian writers can actually write well. Anderson uses beautiful analogies to draw the reader into seeing what Christian discernment looks like. There's no 5-step process or 30-day plan. Instead, the book is rooted in scripture and essentially encourages readers to spend so much time in Christian community and reading the Bible that they gradually learn how to see all that's good. Favorite Quote: The solution to impurity is not simply abstinence or ignorance; it is to pursue whatever is pure.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel {bibliopals}

    "Discernment does not overlook the brokenness of the world. It does not deny its need of redemption. It does not excuse sinfulness, live in a false reality, or pretend that a damaged statue is just as good as a carefully preserved one. What discernment does is equip us to see the true nature of the world and of ourselves—both the good and the bad. Discernment helps us see the world for what it was made to be and believe that God is powerful enough to restore it to its intended purpose. That some "Discernment does not overlook the brokenness of the world. It does not deny its need of redemption. It does not excuse sinfulness, live in a false reality, or pretend that a damaged statue is just as good as a carefully preserved one. What discernment does is equip us to see the true nature of the world and of ourselves—both the good and the bad. Discernment helps us see the world for what it was made to be and believe that God is powerful enough to restore it to its intended purpose. That somehow we are part of that process. That somehow we will be restored ourselves. "

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Eason

    I was not expecting such a philosophical look at biblical discernment, but it was exactly what I needed (and our culture needs). There is a big need for biblical discernment as we wade through social media, parenting, careers, etc. I highly recommend this for both men and women.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonna Ventura

    Quick read and super practical.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stefan Hull

    A few of the chapters are incredibly insightful.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    Clear thinking, clear writing. There's little more to ask for than is already here. This is my first but definitely not my last book by Anderson.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Robbins

    I listened to this book today while doing chores. It was an excellent reminder of both the importance and practice of discernment. I appreciated the opening and closing illustrations bookending the key aspects of discernment for believers. Each chapter held both practical applications as well as scriptural support. This was a quick, thoughtful read for those desiring to cultivate wisdom.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katriel

    Do you ever wish you could leave this world? Just pack your bags and move on to some other place a little less chaotic? Yeah, me too. Everywhere you turn is pain and chaos and hate and death and destruction. It feels like the world is spinning out of a control. And with every passing day, it's only getting worse. Of course the sin problems we are dealing with today are the same ones we've been dealing with since the beginning of time. But, thanks to the internet, we now have instant access to th Do you ever wish you could leave this world? Just pack your bags and move on to some other place a little less chaotic? Yeah, me too. Everywhere you turn is pain and chaos and hate and death and destruction. It feels like the world is spinning out of a control. And with every passing day, it's only getting worse. Of course the sin problems we are dealing with today are the same ones we've been dealing with since the beginning of time. But, thanks to the internet, we now have instant access to the information concerning the sins of 7 billion other people in the world. Not only do we have the weight of our own problems, we can now know, in great detail, the sins of our next door neighbor, and the problems of their third cousin, and who killed whom and what political scandal just happened on the other side of the world two hours ago. (please don't take this to mean that I hate the internet and think it's evil. I don't. In fact I think it can be a wonderful tool.) Sometimes, I just get sick of it all. When I look inside at my own sin and then look around, at all the corruption in the world, I honestly just want to pack my bags and go live in a hole. Okay, let's be a little more realistic, I'd rather just move to some secluded area, surround myself with people who think exactly like me and build up walls to try and protect myself as best as possible. Whose gonna judge me for just trying to be safe? After all the world is most likely just going to get worse and worse and all we can do is hunker down and hope we survive. Or that Jesus comes back soon. But what if...what if there's more to this life than just being safe? "What if we could see the world as God sees it-in all it's brokenness and beauty-and in seeing, be able to do more than endure this life? What if we could flourish in it?" This quote comes from the opening pages of Hannah Anderson's newest book All That's Good: Discovering the Lost Art of Discerment. I opened this book at a low point in my life. I was feeling angry and frustrated and in fact, quite cynical. (I know, I'm not even old enough to be cynical.) The title sounded promising and so I began to read in hopes of finding something to help calm my inner chaos. And, wow, did I find something. This book is one of the best things I have read in a long time. It's pages are literally soaked in hope. Writing with grace and clarity, Anderson lays before us a picture of true discernment and what it should look like in the life of every believer. Despite the pain of this broken world, we are called to seek out the good in it. And thankfully, God has not abandoned us to do that on our own. "Despite all the pain, all the sorrow, all the questions, goodness still exists because God still exists. And because He does, He has not left us to sort through the mess alone." It's a truly inspiring book. My review doesn't do it justice by a long stretch. Buy a copy. Read it for yourself. It changed my life and I hope it will change yours too. "We're confident that the God who once made all things good will make all things good once again. And it's this confidence-not in the goodness of the world itself but in the goodness of God-that allows us to move forward...and commit ourselves to the work of learning discernment." (thanks for reading my review and if you got this far, I admire you. Have a cookie...🍪🍪🍪)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brandi Breezee

    Normally I’m not a fan of books with lots of examples and life experiences. I tend to be a get to the point type of reader, but I found the examples fitting and helpful to the art of discernment. Scripture references were on point and expounded well, but what struck me the most was her chapter directed towards herself and those with the gift of discernment. That chapter was enlightening, convicting, and comforting. Read this book and grow in discernment.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    I’d say more like 3.75 stars...I’ve read her first two books, Made for More and Humble Roots. I think Humble Roots is my favorite of the three, if I should have a fave. passage from my favorite chapter of the book... “Somehow in the doing is the becoming. Somehow in the teaching is the learning. Somehow in the seeking is the finding. So too, it is by the practice of discernment that we actually become discerning people. You’ll never learn discernment until you start to apply it. You’ll never begin I’d say more like 3.75 stars...I’ve read her first two books, Made for More and Humble Roots. I think Humble Roots is my favorite of the three, if I should have a fave. passage from my favorite chapter of the book... “Somehow in the doing is the becoming. Somehow in the teaching is the learning. Somehow in the seeking is the finding. So too, it is by the practice of discernment that we actually become discerning people. You’ll never learn discernment until you start to apply it. You’ll never begin to understand the difference between the good and bad and good and better until you do it. But as you do, as you seek all that true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable, you’ll move from a place of not knowing what goodness looks like to finding it almost effortlessly. And soon you’ll see it everywhere.” Really enjoyed this book and her take on discernment. I did have some questions as I read through it, though, and think she could’ve given more specific treatment to practicing discernment in tandem with studying Scripture. If a new or young Christian reads this book, there’s not a complete picture of the gospel of grace laid out in showing just why we should even seek goodness or why we are unable to seek goodness in a fallen state. Because of our sin against a Holy God, we are in need of forgiveness and rescue and regeneration, and that happens only through Jesus. In Him, we can then seek true goodness and get to know true goodness. And as we read His word and see goodness in Him and in what He has said and had done and provides, we will grow in discernment. Yes, it must be practiced, but it can also be known through the authority of God’s Word, the Bible. She does make mention of His sacrifice at one point, and this book is good in helping Christians understand more how to think based on principles rather than just what to think based on rules - but I just felt like there was something missing tying it all together. Maybe a 2nd read will help.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katy Sammons

    This is a lovely, encouraging book that gave me a better vision for pursuing what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. I especially appreciated the admonishment given in chapter 10 to cultivate a mindset of abundance, which is the key to contentment. Anderson is spiritually substantive, erudite, AND accessible. All of her books are well worth reading.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Brantly

    2.5 rounded up

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