Create Belonging in an age of Judgement, Isolation, and Fear
By Scott Sauls
Published by Tyndale
185 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: We live in a world where real friendship is hard to find. Suspicious of others and insecure about ourselves, we retreat into the safety of our small, self-made worlds. Now more than ever, it's easy to avoid people with whom we disagree or whose life experiences don't mirror our own. Safe among like-minded peers and digital "friends," we really don't have to engage with those who can challenge and enhance our limited perspectives. Tragically, even the church can become a place that minimizes diversity and reinforces isolation.

Jesus models a much richer vision for friendship. In BeFriend, popular teacher, Scott Sauls, invites us to see and savor the broad and deep love of God. In twenty-one eloquent meditations on what God's love can look like in our everyday lives, Scott invites us to expand our circle of friends.

Scott has met too many people whose first impulse is to fence off their lives with relational barriers that only end up starving their own souls.

Yes, it's true: Real friendships costly. Love does make us vulnerable. But, without risk, our lives will remain impoverished.

Join Scott in BeFriend as he summons you toward diverse friendships that can enrich your life and, in the process, reveal a better version of yourself.

REVIEW: Take your time in reading this book. There is so much inside. The author states, “Real friendship is hard…There are other, less real versions of friendship. The less real version are “less” because they are less costly, less committed, less descriptive, less scary, less gritty, less gutsy, and less out-of-our-control than real friendship. But here’s the rub…Less “real” versions of friendship are also less rich. In the short run, they feel better and smoother than real friendships. But in the long run, they leave us lonely and alone. And it is not good to be alone.”

This explains how we can have thousands of friends on FB; be more connected than we’ve ever been in our lives and feel all alone. This is a new phenomenon we didn’t grow up with and our children are navigating without use (because we can’t be with them 24/7.)

With our children growing up with virtual friends and getting to know people through texting and having a player join their video games; I think that this book is very important for everyone to read. There was a time when we knew our kids friends and could help them navigate things but now any more. The scary things is you don’t really know the other person on-line because their profile may not be real. Bad guys can sit in their homes and pick their prey. Being educated on what to look for in relationships will help you spot what is real and what makes you go “hum” It’s also a helpful refresher course on what is important. The author discusses the following types of relationships (and so much more.) in an engaging way.

1.    Digital Friendships – Facebook, video game friends etc. The kinds of friends your kids can talk to without leaving the house.
2.    Transactional friendships – this isn’t’ really friendship. “Unlike real friendship, transactional friendship treats other people as a means to an end. When we relate this way, we come to view people more as resources than as human beings. Instead of loving and serving them as we would in a real friendship, we use them to advance our careers, build our platforms, gain access to their social circle, increase our self-esteem) impress others, etc.”

I’m glad he talks about this. I think this is important. Sad to say that this is happening in the work force too. Everyone is replaceable and viewed as a resource.

3.    One-dimensional friendships – “happens when they revolve around a single shared interest and not much else.”

I’m glad he talks about this too. Sometimes we have friends that like to do the same things but it doesn’t go any deeper than that. It’s ok to have these friends but don’t expect it to go anywhere other than the events shared.

A Case For Befriending. C.S. Lewis says, “All true friendship begins when one person looks at another and says, “You, too?”….”When a friendship grows beyond one dimension to many dimensions – a poverty of friendship is replaced by a richness of friendship…Everybody matures and grows. And when everybody matures and grows everyone wins.”

I’m so glad this author took apart the topic of friendships and relationships in general. In a time where everyone is racing to have more “friends” then the other; it’s a refreshing look at what is “real” and what is pretend. Face to face relationships are important. They take work and risk. So much is lost in a text or a comment on facebook. Our words can be distorted and emphasis on something the writer never intended. This book is a keeper. It’s one I’ll be reading over and over again; each time getting another revelation I didn’t see the last time I read it.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Scott Sauls is senior pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville. Before this, he served with Tim Keller at New York City's Redeemer Presbyterian Church as a lead and preaching pastor. In addition to his books, Scott's work has been featured in Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, Qideas, Catalyst, Leadership Magazine, aholyexperience, OnFaith, The Gospel Coalition, Key Life, as well as other publications. Scott can be found on Facebook and Twitter/Instagram at @scottsauls.He also blogs regularly at 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. 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”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
The Book Club Network blog 
Book Fun Magazine


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