“…take this episode as a warning shot across the bow because if it can happen to David, it can happen to you!”
I picked up this short book (warranting a short review) because I was attracted to the link made in the title between repentance and joy. Journey Back to Joy is interestingly a character study of David. Sadly, although it does have a brief but noteworthy emphasis on the experiential aspect of joyful repentance, it bears a number of flaws.
Hankey is slightly speculative about David’s thought patterns, a number of his sentences are dissonant, and the book itself is quite basic. The counter to the latter charge could be that the intended audiences are youth and less mature Christians respectively, but his peppering of technical terms does away with this hypothesis. The most devastating flaw, however, is that I did not feel challenged by the book, and, as a sinner in need of repentance and joy, I should have been. Perhaps this is due, as noted in other reviews, to the timeliness of books.
The fascinating question, then, is whether or not such short books herald the future of Christian reading. Several months ago, I probably would have argued “yes”; in a drip-fed-by-distraction culture, such books could be the gateway needed to introduce younger Christians to meditative reading. Now, however, I think that such short books admit defeat to our atmosphere of immediate gratification. Journey Back to Joy, for example, is not long enough to do David, repentance or joy justice. Instead, concise books are the way forward, and such books do not necessarily need to be short.