Grits & Grace & God: Manna from Heaven Served Up Southern Style
(Christian Devotions Ministries)
by Martin W. Wiles
I love reading Christian devotionals. When written well, they can teach, preach and reach all at the same time without pushing, shoving or strangling others with rhetoric and clichés. Dr. Wiles’ devotionals are very well written.
Here’s what I really liked about Grits & Grace & God:
• Dr. Wiles has a “light touch” style of writing. He makes his point without hammering you over the head with it (which I stated up above); and yet, the points he makes are still hard hitting enough to make you think WOW. For example, in several of his devotionals he makes the point that giving to God before anything else (bills, wants/wishes, etc.) honors God and He in turn will honor you. However, Dr. Wiles doesn’t say, do it because I’m telling you to, or because the Bible says to do that way. Instead, he tells the reader, this is what I did and this is how it turned out and this is what I learned.
• It was nice, too, to hear from a Christian writer that he has struggles. So many Christian writers today want you—the reader—to believe that their lives are perfect and amazing and overflowing with blessing just because they are Christians. While I can agree that may be true for some, it can’t be true for all. God doesn’t wave a magic wand over us the minute we become Christians and our struggles cease to exist. If that were true, everyone on earth would be a Christian. Knowing that Dr. Wiles learned his lessons in the midst of struggle (struggles like my own) and is willing to share them was refreshing.
• From reading his writing, I can’t help but feel that he’s a very down-to-earth man. I like that.
Here’s what I didn’t …love.
• The author did tend to repeat himself. In one case (or should I say two) he tells about how his grandmother was partial to him (over his siblings and cousins) especially at Christmas, giving him way more presents. He does this in two different devotionals. In fact, he uses almost the same words and sentences. (Chapters: Excellence in Giving & Where Now) Those are rather blatant examples.
I found the same kind of thing happening with other messages and in other devotionals, just a little more subtly.
o This is the main reason for my 4-star rating.
• The only other “critique” I might have would be this: I kept waiting for the “Southern-ality” of the author to appear. The cover mentions grits (for example). I looked for him to use Southern colloquialism (at the least) or talk about cooking with bacon grease, sitting on the porch swinging and drinking Iced Tea, or blessing somebody’s heart (which isn’t always a good thing). Being from the South myself, I guess I was looking for a touch of home. I didn’t really get that… But, maybe that’s something only I noticed.
Overall, this is a very good book with a message and meaning. I would recommend it to anyone.