David C. Cook, 2013, $12.99
Vanity of vanities, says the preacher, but when it comes to Tim Chaddick’s preaching, you’re going to find meaning. That’s how Chaddick approaches the Book of Ecclesiastes, that veritable fountain of brutal honesty and sage wisdom. By interjecting Jesus into the mix, he creates an entirely new approach to this ancient book that has perplexed Bible students for centuries.
Chaddick, who pastors a large congregation in Hollywood, Calif., hasn’t written a typical study guide or commentary in Better: How Jesus Satisfies the Search for Meaning. Rather, he takes the Book of Ecclesiastes and uses its dejecting components to its best advantage, namely,to ask the tough questions that might lead others to find purpose and meaning in Christ, and he pulls this off quite well.
Like many books of this type, I have a feeling this title originally was built around a Chaddick sermon series based on Ecclesiastes, but that’s not a problem as nothing here comes across as sermonizing so much as teaching. Anyone looking to preach a series on the Book of Ecclesiastes, however, couldn’t go wrong with using this title as a source. The book is written for the general reader, for those searching for meaning.
Chaddick begins, in Hollywood style, by asking the reader to be willing to rewrite the script to his/her life. He outlines the script as if it were today’s newspaper, walking us through the modern angst replete with sleep deprivation and the stresses of time, money and relationships, as well as apathy. The book’s three major sections—Aspirations, Assets and Attitudes—conveys myriad subjects littered and illustrated with personal experiences and newsreel-type frontage.
Though the book doesn’t have study questions, it could be used as such, but its greatest asset is its readability. Similar to Ecclesiastes itself, sometimes it is best to soak up the ambiance of the questions themselves. We don’t always have answers. That’s the point. All we can do is hope to make life better.