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Review: On My Own Now by Donna Lee Schillinger

April 17, 2009

On My Own Now: Straight Talk from the Proverbs for Young Christian Women who Want to Remain Pure, Debt-free and Regret-free by Donna Lee Schillinger (2009, the Quildriver) is a quirky, short volume for young single women leaving the nest. It can be somewhat silly at times in an effort to be seen as hip and relevant by the target audience,  a demographic that, statistically, very few of are firmly grounded in a biblical world view. This book can’t do much about that, but it will certainly help.

The book has two basic goals: to make the book of proverbs assessible to a largely-biblically illiterate generation of women, and to fulfill the biblical command of “let the older teach the younger” in a brutally honest, consersational, “Ladies, don’t do what I did. Here are the mistakes I made at your age,  here are the consequences I suffered, and here is how to avoid the same pain in your own lives.” And she delivers that message beautifully. 

For the most part, her biblical exegesis of proverbs is both assessible and accurate. She does get into gray waters when she tries to make basic doctrines like the atonement hip and assessible–dangerous business because it’s very easy to slip and say something irreverant or even theologically inaccurate. One example that comes to mind is when she explains the verse in proverbs about the Father disciplining/chasenting  those he loves by putting a quote along the following lines on God the Father’s lips:

Hey, I’m trying to be a good parent here.

What’s wrong with that? The Father isn’t trying to be anything. He just is. Pure holiness is rather “inaccessible” for a fallen mind, a difficulty all of us have to some extent. When we attempt to make scripture more accessible, the unconscious effort is often to make Jesus more like us, and what we are is sinful. Hence assessible will fling mud on the Lord if we’re not careful.  But that is more an issue to be aware of than a deal breaker for Schllinger.

Where she shines is in practical advise for young women. She handles the issue of sexual purity well, especially in covering the need to protect the heart that often goes missed today to the detriment of marriages. Likewise for financial issues, morality, keeping commitments, and so forth.  She touches on guarding the mind and spirit from corrupting influences quite well, including not using Christian love as an excuse to rub elbows with the people that intice us into sin, and being careful what media we consume. 

However, she really should not have brought up any political issues. One, global warming, the Electoral College, and so forth are not relevant to the topic of this book. Two, her opinions on these subjects come across as uninformed, and that needlessly detracts from her message. For instance, there are good reasons for the Electoral College, and if you really care to know about them, search Adam’s Blog using that key phrase, and he’ll be glad to tell you. And global warming, how many blizzards does the Lord have to send upon us in October and April before we’ll figure out that the temperatures are linked to solar activity, not CO2 levels? 

On the point Schillinger wanted to make,  however,I will take it a step further: turn off the mainstream media altogether. They’re poisonous vipers. Keep informed on the issues, but find news sources that aren’t hopelessly biased in favor of an anti-Christ agenda, or that are at least biased in favor of a biblical world view. The Truth and Hope Report is my favorite for obvious reasons (I’m married to the host.)

On the issue of forgiveness, like with every book that touches on it, but isn’t devoted entirely to the issue, if you’re dealing with serious issues, such as abuse of any sort, skip that section and get that issue addressed by someone who’s been there and has the time and space to give you more than the pat-sounding answers that books like this one only have room for.

If you’re looking for fun, light, easy reading that will advise a little bird being gently shoving out of the nest on a cornucopia of life issues, On My Own Now would make a good present for that apartment warming or graduation party. Just don’t come to it expecting the deep theological musings of  
My Utmost For His Highest.

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