Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World. By Emily P. Freeman. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing, 2015. 256 pp. Paper, $14.99.
Emily Freeman is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author. Her writing is personal and gracious. She uses charming stories from her own life and home, and is not afraid to laugh at herself and share less than flattering personal tales. In addition, she comes across as a lovely young woman who cares deeply about her relationship with Christ. Without a doubt, her book will resonate with many readers who live busy lives.
The main point of the book is that our souls can be held hostage by busyness and society’s expectations. We are told we need to dream and do things in ever-bigger ways. However, Freeman says we should realize that Christ is at work in us in small ways. We can experience Him in these small things and do it one Tuesday at a time, with Tuesday being used because it is the most ordinary day of the week.
Her premise is appealing and at times even Biblical. She wishes to instill in her readers the importance of “small” living. She speaks of our need to allow God to meet us even in the small moments of life, and reminds us that Jesus’ life revolved around small things, such as the family He lived with and to whom He chose to reveal Himself after the resurrection (p. 37).
However, Freeman takes it too far. She associates smallness with spiritual infancy. I am not sure how she reconciles her thoughts on this matter when Paul rebukes his readers for not growing into mature believers in 1 Corinthians 3.
Freeman also places a lot of emphasis on the concept of the Kingdom. After quoting Luke 17:20–21, she comments that even though we think of heaven as beyond the clouds, it may not be far up at all. In fact the Kingdom of God is here and now and heaven is simply one inch off the ground (p. 13).
I do not understand what she is saying. She seems to be equating the coming Kingdom to a fairy tale and feels that our attention should be on the present world instead of a future Kingdom. It is confusing because she also says that we know the King of our Kingdom will one day come (p. 241). Her use of Luke 17 is without regard to the context and it seems to this reviewer that she has something she wants to say and finds a Scripture that she believes fits her thesis.
Readers of the JOTGES will notice that she mentions rewards in passing. She comments that what begins small and in secret may end in glory. However, this glory has a shape in the here and now, in the Kingdom that exists now. It will reap a harvest in the Kingdom that is coming (p. 219). Most of the book seems to alternate between the here and now Kingdom and the future Kingdom interchangeably with no Scriptural references.
The value in the book is that it reminds Christians that we can be caught up in the culture in which we live. The world values things done on a big scale. But God often uses small things for His glory. We can certainly become too busy in our lives and equate busyness with pleasing God. The book also has many good illustrations. If a reader is looking for those things this is a quick and enjoyable read.
However, we do not hear God’s Word in small things. To grow spiritually we must go to God’s Word. In Simply Tuesday the reader will find a lot of ideas based upon opinion that may or not accurately reflect what Scripture says. It is not a book that exegetes the few Scriptures cited.
To this reviewer an interesting aspect of this book is that it is well received among Christians. No doubt, part of that is due to the great writing ability of the author. But it seems that much of what is being said is open to interpretation, perhaps purposefully. The idea that heaven is one inch off the ground can mean one thing to one reader, and another thing to a second reader. Each can have it mean whatever they want it to mean. This fact, along with the lack of exegesis of any kind in a best-selling Christian book, makes one wonder if it is an example of how postmodernism is creeping into the church. For somebody looking for a clear statement of Biblical truth concerning the small things in life, this book is not the place to go.