Chatting about Gentleness and a Book Giveaway!!

Thank goodness for my Kindle because my book shelves are sagging in the middle despite me repeatedly cleaning out the books I can ‘do without’ and still survive.

I’m a bookworm from way back, so it’s perfect that one of the ‘perks’ of being a writer is getting to read and review books from other authors.courageousgentleness

When I saw the title of Mary Ann Froehlich’s new book, Courageous Gentleness, I knew I wanted to read it, review it, and give a copy away to someone else.  You can read my book review here.

I’ve felt my own spiritual toes stepped on before when reading this verse, “Let your gentleness be evident to all” (Philippians 4:5).  Because we too often treat gentleness like a personality trait.  You have it, or you don’t, either way is fine.

But it says it right there—our gentleness should be visible to everyone around us. It’s Christ in us, the Holy Spirit doing the work of producing spiritual fruit.

So, today, I have a little extra treat for you.  Mary Ann was kind enough to let me ask her some questions and share her answers with  you!

And wait, there’s more!

Just for being such a wonderful bunch of blog readers, today at the end of my interview with Mary Ann, I’ll give away a copy of her book.  Stay tuned to find out how to qualify for this special offer…

Okay, my friends, over to Mary Ann:

  1.  What’s your favorite holiday and why?

I love Thanksgiving because all my adult children come home for this celebration and it kicks off the holiday season.

  1. You are a musician, so I’m wondering if you could pick one instrument to learn that you’ve never learned to play, what would it be?

I enjoy listening to cello music so that is the instrument I would pick.

  1. Lots of times when we think of ‘gentleness,’ we think of ‘weak,’ ‘wimpy,’ ‘a doormat,’ or a ‘pushover.’  How is the biblical definition of gentleness different from that?

The biblical definition is quite the opposite. Gentleness embodies restrained strength. Unleashing harsh words or actions is weakness and evidences a lack of self-control. Our best example of restrained strength is Christ’s response to attackers during the days leading to his death.

  1. You have a successful career as a music teacher and you talk in your book a lot about practice.  What are your best tips on how to practice anything from a musical instrument to a spiritual trait like gentleness?

My best tip for practicing is to isolate the most difficult sections of a piece you are learning. Practice those first and multiple times until you are comfortable. Then you can play the piece from the beginning and avoid struggling through the tough sections. This same approach works for any skill we are learning that requires practice, which includes biblical behaviors such as gentleness and other fruit of the spirit. We will benefit if we first focus on improving the areas we struggle with most in life instead of avoiding them.

  1. You share in your book about Christianity having an “image problem” in the United States and you ask the question, “Are Christians Known for Being Gentle?”  What do you think the answer to that question is ?  How can we change that?

In my personal experience (and the research backs it up), Christians are not known for being gentle. The world knows Christians more for what they stand against instead of who they are for. As a body, we have an angry, intolerant reputation. What saddens me more is when Christians tell me that their fellow Christians do not treat them with gentleness. Through the years, I have had several friends who needed to remove themselves from the church when they were going through a tough season of life (a divorce, child on drugs, teen pregnancy, etc.). The church should be our safest place when we are in pain but too often fellow believers rub salt in our wounds.

  1. What’s your encouragement for someone who says, “I’m just not a gentle person. I’m outspoken.  That’s just who I am.”

I would say that the fruit of the spirit is not a personality trait. Every believer is called to mirror Christ. Practicing those biblical behaviors is hard work for all of us.

Thanks so much to Mary Ann Froehlich for sharing with us!

I’ll be giving away a copy of her book Courageous Gentleness using a random number generator.  All you need to do to enter is comment on this post (not on Facebook, here on the blog please) with the answer to this question:

Do you think Christians are known for being gentle?  If not, what can we do about our ‘image problem?’

I’ll close the giveaway on Thursday, July 17th at 11:59 p.m. and announce the winner in the blog for Friday, July 18th.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Courageous Gentleness, Book Review

I loved the slightly unexpected nature of the title for Mary Ann Froehlich’s new book, Courageous Gentleness.  In a modern world like ours, where we marvel at the brazen, the bold, the loud and powerful, her book encourages us to prize, treasure, and pursue the spiritual fruit of gentleness.courageousgentleness

The book is filled with Scripture and each chapter concludes with a few questions of “Personal Retreat” to guide the reader into deeper reflection and personal application.  At under 200 pages, the book is short, easy to read, but thought-provoking.

She begins with a chapter that asks, “Is Gentleness for Wimps?” Then she follows with chapters on the gentleness of God, of Jesus, and of Christians, as well as chapters on practicing aspects of gentleness such as humility, self-control, communication, patience, and more.   Biblical gentleness, she argues, isn’t being weak or wimpy.  It’s more like a powerhouse of meekness.

So often we excuse our lack of gentleness by saying, “Well, that’s just not me.  I’m outspoken.  That’s who I am.”  But the Bible is clear when it says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”  We are all to practice gentleness.  It’s a marker of our faith and a sign of the Holy Spirit at work within us.  It’s supposed to be part of our Christian testimony, drawing others to know Jesus.

I love that Mary Ann Froehlich emphasize that gentleness is a trait we practice by disciplining our tongues and taking time to craft responses to others.  It may not be our natural bent, but it’s part of our Christian calling. As she writes, ‘gentleness is not simply a quality, trait, behavior, or characteristic.  It is a choice.”

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”