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Book Review – Enough

2009 May 26
by Julie Clawson

I recently read Will Samson’s latest book Enough: Contentment in an Age of Excess. When I first started the book, I half-expected it to be a diatribe against modern culture, focusing on the sins of our excess. While the book does mention those excesses, what I found instead was a call to live into true church community. Will encourages us to say “enough” to the consumeristic tendencies that have overtaken our personal lives, our churches, or friendships, and our theology and return to a Christ-centered practice instead.

The book is divided into two main sections. The first is an accessible exploration of the ways we have let consumeristic mindsets control who we are. And the second is a practical section that explores the areas of our lives in which we can say “enough” and provides broad suggestions for alternative ways of living. Both sections are easy to read, full of stories and examples, and do a good job of explaining ideas and trends in culture. While I personally found myself wishing for more substance in parts of the book, I found it as a whole to be a great introduction to the idea of exploring how our lives reflect what we believe.

The main call in the book is for us to live eucharistic lives. Living eucharistically “is to find ourselves in a community of others seeking the same, seeking to follow God in the way of Jesus.”. But instead of living radically in that way, Will argues that we make do on low-cost, low-commitment substitutes. We exchange Christian community for the easy “personal decision for Christ.” We exchange the command of stewardship for a “eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die get raptured” theology. We have failed to realize that what we do, where we live, and what we buy reflects our theology. Will reminds us though that our lives are a gospel account “written in public for all to see” and calls us to question what sort of story we are telling. He encourages us to abandon the story of how our inner longings push us to consume more and more, and adopt a story of finding a place in the presence of God and the community of believers.

I’d recommend Enough to those who are wondering if there is a different way to follow Jesus that just doesn’t rubberstamp the culture. This is a book for those who want to live redemptively but who have no idea where to begin. Will does a good job in providing a biblical guideline for how we can start to rethink our interactions with others and with the world and live in a way that makes the term “Christ-follower” mean something tangible.

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  1. June 12, 2009

    Thanks for this. I’m putting it on my summer reading list.

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