A Book Review:
NAILED IT – 365 Sarcastic Devotions for Angry or Worn-Out People
by Anne Kennedy
I first discovered Anne Kennedy via Twitter. Someone retweeted a tweet of hers that I found interesting, so I started following her. Following her led me to her blog, which I also found interesting and edifying. Following her blog led me to her book, this devotional.
Though I’d found her tweets and blog posts thought provoking, I wasn’t sure about actually investing money in her work, especially a devotional. There’s a certain vulnerability I give myself over to when reading a devotional versus a commentary or study book. I don’t read them intellectually or critically but…devotionally. And so I worry my theology could be led astray. But I couldn’t resist the title or the cover. It depicts a woman, Jael from the Book of Judges, holding a mallet and a bloody spike. My warped sense of humor won out!
Anne Carlson Kennedy is an Anglican minister, wife of an Anglican pastor, and home-schooling mother of six, so her understanding of scripture and worn-out people is astute. She self-describes herself as sarcastic, but I only found her mildly so (which could be revealing my own level of sarcasm).
This not a typical devotional book, as I have found typical devotional books. It is not filled with saccharine messages or trite moral teachings. Though seminary educated, Kennedy’s devotions are not academic lessons, either. Her writing displays scriptural and spiritual insight while her personal examples leave room for the Spirit to stimulate readers’ own personal application. No cookie cutter answers are offered. What Kennedy describes as sarcastic and angry I call “real”. Her tone and style are a cross between Ann Voskamp and Dorothy Parker.
An excerpt from Day 331 (November 27) – I Cor 5:6 “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?”
A little sin goes a long way. It wraps itself around everything. It moves through the whole batch of dough leaving no single part unaffected. There isn’t any way to get rid of it. The people of Israel were supposed to get rid of all the leaven out of their houses before the Passover feast. They had to wash everything and scrub everything and clean and clean, almost to the point of exhaustion. They could satisfy themselves that no leaven was in the house. But what about the air? There can be invisible airborne leaven. I know this because of once trying to make sourdough bread.
So with sin. A little goes a long way, and you can’t ever completely get rid of it. So why, this being the case, and its power being so immense and destructive, would you go out and find it and bring it in? Because it makes life taste better? Because you think you will overpower it with the good that you dredge up from somewhere inside you? Or maybe through the Spirit. Maybe you will overcome sin through the Spirit.
No. Don’t think so highly of yourself and your abilities. Flee from sin. Confess your sins. Call out to Jesus for help. You can’t do anything at all without him. Only blood will wash away the stain of the leaven.
This is a devotional that will allow the Spirit to prick your conscience, encourage your heart, and let you know your LORD and God better. And that’s really what a good devotional is supposed to do.