How to Live in Fear: Mastering the Art of Freaking Out by Lance Hahn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As is indicated by the subtitle, this book is about mastering the art of “freaking out.” Does this mean that one must subdue their fear entirely? Do we be come fearless machinations for the corporate cogs of capitalism? (That took a dark turn pretty quick). The answer is, if you really don’t know it already, “of course not.”
This is where I get to toss in the lovely “this is a Christian work” disclaimer. Why? Because I’m not Christian, and many other individuals aren’t as well. Some Christian books on secular topics overdue the religious tones and discourage an audience. Others do not. You’ll just have to step in to see if the temperature of this work is tepid enough for you or not. Yes, the author gets pretty religious in his language. Very religious. So reader beware.
Disclaimer out of the way, what of the content of this book? Some Christian works do so well that even the religious tone can be ignored for the secular lesson (like “Five Love Languages” and “Financial Peace University”). The author wants the reader to embrace their Christian faith and find the solace their religion can provide. That’s the technical term for it. More or less, this book is aimed at a Christian audience to teach them out to weather the storms of life. But that sounds like a lesson that I could use at times, even when I write reviews. In fact, there are many I know that could use that lesson.
Here’s the problem: this is one of those religious books that can’t see past the end of their religious definition. The author relies too much on the audience being Christian and write solely for a Christian reader. References to “Christian walk,” etc., are found frequently enough in the work. I’m not one for substituting yourself in. Just like how a Christian can’t read the Tanach and put “church” in where it says “Israel,” so too should a reader not substitute “my own religious or non-religious tradition” instead “Christian” or “Christianity.” It’s an inappropriate cultural appropriation.
That said, I think the writer has promising content. Christians will find this book the excellent compendium to overcome their internal struggles and fears. Back in the day, I could have definitely benefitted from this work. Now, not so much. And I think that’s the biggest, and maybe only, downside to this work: it’s severely limited and incompatible with the majority of the world. If Christianity has the peace it professes, the author would do well to write a non-denominational version of this work to apply his concepts outside of the “Jesus camp.”
Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post. This product is reviewed based on content and quality in consideration of the intended audience. Review or recommendation of this product does not solicit endorsement from Reviews by J or the reviewer.