The Dave Test: A Raw Look at Real Faith in Hard Times
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The Dave Test: A Raw Look at Real Faith in Hard Times

Abingdon Press / 2013 / Paperback

In Stock
Stock No: WW755934


Product Description

When life is at its tattered edges and you are faced with seemingly impossible decisions, the Dave Test is a set of searingly honest questions you ask to become the best, most honest self for you, your friends, and your family. Instead of resorting to stained-glass language or offering false hope, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. Take the Dave Test.

Did you show up to work yesterday just to be greeted with a layoff notice? What do you say when your friend miscarries? Or when your brother is diagnosed with a wildly incurable cancer? Hard-hitting issues such as these aren't necessarily part of God's perfect plan or blessings in disguise.

When life tosses you hard problems with only painful options, take the Dave Test. It will empower you to take life head-on with blunt wisdom, soul-searching honesty, and utter integrity.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 1426755937
ISBN-13: 9781426755934

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Publisher's Description

LIFE IS RAW.  SO IS THE LANGUAGE IN THIS BOOK

What is the Dave Test? When life is at its tattered edges and you are faced with seemingly impossible decisions, the Dave Test is a set of searingly honest questions you ask to become the best, most honest self for you, your friends, and your family. Instead of resorting to stained-glass language or offering false hope, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. Take the Dave Test.

Did you show up to work yesterday just to be greeted with a layoff notice? What do you say when your friend miscarries? Or when your brother is diagnosed with a wildly incurable cancer? Hard-hitting issues such as these aren't necessarily part of God's perfect plan or blessings in disguise.

When life tosses you hard problems with only painful options, take the Dave Test. It will empower you to take life head-on with blunt wisdom, soul-searching honesty, and utter integrity.

"We've all been both victims and perpetrators of it--the hurtful bit of spiritual sunshine that is foisted upon a suffering soul. In The Dave Test, Fred Schmidt shows us a better way to be: honest, empathetic, vulnerable, earnest, earthy, substantial, and refreshingly uncertain. It is a beautiful vision for a helpful life." --Mike Stavlund, author of A Force of Will

"In this book find Fred Schmidt’s singular ability to translate chronicles of loss and pain into a sanctioned call for honesty about faith as it is lived and as it is allowed to mature in us." --Phyllis Tickle, author

"The Dave Test is a true and beautifully written book about that most important of questions: What do we do when everything falls apart for us or those we love?" --Greg Garrett, author of Stories from the Edge: A Theology of Grief and The Other Jesus

Frederick W. Schmidt holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation and directs the Rueben P. Job Institute for Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. An Episcopal priest, spiritual director, and retreat leader, he is the author of seven books, including When Suffering Persists and What God Wants for Your Life. He also writes and blogs at Patheos.com. Fred and his wife, Natalie, live in Chicago with their Gordon Setter, Hilda.


Author Bio

Frederick W. Schmidt holds the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation and directs the Rueben P. Job Institute for Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.  An Episcopal priest, spiritual director, and retreat leader he is the author of seven books, including When Suffering Persists (2001) and What God Wants for Your Life (2005).  Fred and his wife, Natalie, live in Chicago with their Gordon Setter, Hilda.

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  1. bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    a gutsy look at how we relate to those suffering
    November 1, 2013
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Seven years ago Frederick's brother Dave, a gifted hand surgeon, got a brain tumor in the prime of life. He went from 120 surgeries a month to zero. Dave, a Christian, was frustrated with what other Christians told him. Their words were useless platitudes. They didn't pass the "Dave test."

    "The Dave Test," Frederick writes, "is a set of ten questions you can ask yourself when life sucks or before you talk to someone whose life is in the same sort of place." (6) These questions will help us stay honest about life, present with our friends, and in touch with God. They will keep us from saying hurtful things or using "stained-glass" language. We'll be less likely to defend wrong ideas about God or look for our own comfort at the expense of others. (7)

    One question deals with being honest about just how hard and ugly life can be. Another deals with our views of God and how to find a vision of God we can hold onto, One who suffers alongside us. He wants us to question our churchy, stained-glass (and useless) words and asks us to use the language of reality. He asks if we can admit that some things will never get better - we're mortal. He confronts our magical thinking. He brings us up short on fooling ourselves, blowing smoke, failing to confront the truth. He suggests steps we can take to say something that helps the sufferer. He explores how we can grieve with another. He asks if we can walk in the transparency of our own wounded self. And finally, how to be a friend, be available, be vulnerable.

    He does a great job of analyzing why we say those useless, "stained-glass" kinds of things. We wish we had some control. We so want life to make sense. Sometimes it just does not. Like the psalmist, we wonder why the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper. Sometimes is just is. He has a helpful discussion on the various views of God's sovereignty and control.

    Frederick has certainly given me a great deal of food for thought as to how I relate to those suffering. This is a very honest and penetrating book. It's not fluff. It deals with a hard subject of great importance.

    Some Christians will find this book offensive, I am sure. There is "language." There is vulgarity. So be warned. Sometimes the reality of suffering isn't neat and tidy and surrounded by stained-glass language. I didn't read anything I haven't heard people say in the midst of pain, so I understood why it was included.

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the author for the purpose of this review.
  2. richard r blake
    Bridgman, MI
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    In a Quest for Answers the Reality of Life
    October 28, 2013
    richard r blake
    Bridgman, MI
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Pain, suffering, disappointment, economic crisis, terminal illness, or deaths of loved ones are all realities of life. In his book The Dave Test: A Raw Look at Real Faith in Hard Times Frederick W. Schmidt relates the devastating story of his brother, a successful surgeon, the impact on his faith, and the realities faced by the "bomb shell" announcement "you have a brain tumor."

    The Dave Test boldly cuts through to the inadequacy, emptiness, often offensive and hurtful clichés and platitudes offered by thoughtless people, in a pretentious, expression of religious piousness in time of suffering. Schmidt provides the reader with 10 questions to consider, before offering "solace" to the suffering. These questions will turn pity to compassion, sympathy to empathy, and indifference to understanding.This is an important book for pastors, counselors, and anyone willing to face life with honesty and genuine concern.

    A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.
  3. pastor2519
    West Point, UT
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    what to do when life sucks
    October 5, 2013
    pastor2519
    West Point, UT
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 4
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    So life sucks_what are you going to do about it? Life happens, and it's not always pleasant, but somehow we're expected to get through it. And then just about the time we convince ourselves that we're invincible, death stares us in the face. The mortality rate in my state, and in yours, is 100%. Or as someone once said, "From the moment we're born, we're preparing to die.

    What a pleasant way to encourage someone to read a book, but there it is. "The Dave Test: A Raw Look at Real Faith in Hard Times" by Frederick W. Schmidt (Abingdon Press, 2013) is a stark reminder that bad things happen to good people, and that people of faith are not exempt from the basic realities of life.

    The blurb on the back cover cautions the reader that ‘life is raw, and so is the language in this book'. But the language was, in the context of this story, not a concern. Schmidt frames his book around the death of a loved one, his brother Dave. There was nothing ‘nice' about the death; Dave, a surgeon, is struck with cancer and for 7 years lives with an "expiration date" stamped on his forehead. Real people in raw situations react in a variety of ways and one of those ways is to use raw language.

    The author helps himself and us to learn to deal with people in those raw situations in a way that would pass the ‘Dave Test": with authenticity.

    All too often when we're faced with struggles, our own or those of others, we default to a way that is anything but authentic. We rail at God, we leave the faith and the church of our childhood, or at least we take a break. But Schmidt helps us realize that we can be real without abandoning our faith, in fact sometimes the situations serve to strengthen our faith.

    The book is basically the 10 questions that comprise the Dave Test. And the answers are not so targeted that they only fit one point of view. They are at once pastoral, in the sense of pastors need to hear this too and also as advice that pastors might give to those who are hurting and grieving. But they also speak to us as human beings: when I'm in this situation is it ok for me to feel this way, and how do I deal with these feelings? They speak to the friends of those who are hurting: I don't know what to say, what to do; I want to help but feel so inadequate. Answers, suggestions, hints, and subtle nudges alternated with much more overt shoves help us to learn to deal with our own insecurities as we face the ones we love in their times of loss.

    This book is for anyone who has ever been in the position of being a friend to someone who was hurting and just didn't know what to say.

    I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a review.
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