I took a brief break from fiction to read Dr. Ashley Tauriac's debut work In Between The Lines Of Faith And Work. It's a relief to review a book without having to worry about spoilers for once. I will say that I almost snatched a star because Dr. Ashley stated in her book that she did not enjoy The Avengers: Age Of Ultron as much as she did the other movies. But I forgave her after all of the Marvel references I found on her blog.
Let me start off by saying In Between The Lines Of Faith And Work is not just another Christian living book. It may be filled with good advice and encouraging testimonies but thankfully it is short on the Christain cliches. I know this book was written for graduate students and medical professionals but it really delivers a universal truth that anyone can apply to their life.
There Are Gray Areas
That's the universal truth.
If I had to describe In Between The Lines Of Faith And Work in one sentence it would be: There are gray areas. That premise alone deserved a 5-star rating. My favorite thing to say to people on either side of any issue is "there is a gray area and it's okay to live there". Dr. Ashley Tauriac (who is so humble that she would probably prefer me to put just Ashley) does an amazing job of demonstrating the dangers of being too far to the left or right on any issue. Be it studying too much or not at all. All church and no play vs all play and no church. Being professional or being saved. I could go on and on listing the dichotomies we often find ourselves torn between.
I usually refer to them as false dichotomies because the truth is we don't always have to choose. There is a space in between the lines and sometimes that space is the only place we will truly find peace.
Sorry Church Folks
Let me start off by saying I am "church folk". I attend church faithfully with my family and enjoy church (most of the time at least) but most of all I just plain ole like Jesus. He's the homey. But in the spirit of honesty, I sometimes think 'church folk' equate church attendance and activity with right relationship with God. In Between The Lines Of Faith And Work was such a refreshing read because it challenged the notion that only what we do in church/for church matters. Dr. Ashley demonstrated time and time again how important our work in the marketplace or "the world" is.
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Called To Work
In Between The Lines Of Work And Faith is an inspiring read for anyone who has been told they must give up their dreams for full-time ministry. The truth is you only have to give up your dream for full-time ministry if God has told you to. God's will for your life may be to use you mightily but in the secular world. You could be the person sent to turn a company around and change the work environment. Your invention, that has nothing to do with the church, may bring you the wealth to live well and finance missions to advance the Kingdom. Your secular job can be your ministry. We may not all be called to the pulpit ( I dare say most of us are not) but we are called to influence the world around us.
Sphere Of Influence
Continually, Christians are bashed for their interactions with the world and its 'unsavory' people. Dr. Ashley kills the idea that as believers we must hide from unsaved folk. God did not save us so we could hide in church together. Some of our best chances for evangelizing is with our unsaved classmates, friends, and co-workers. And I don't mean the cliched 'Jesus loves you' evangelizing either. I mean the organic type of ministering that comes from just being available and kind to people.
In Between The Lines Of Faith And Work contains a shining example of organic evangelism in a story Dr. Ashley shares about spending all night talking about God with her atheist friends. She didn't befriend these people with intentions of dragging them to church. She befriended them over a common interest and that eventually presented her with the opportunity to answer their questions concerning God and the Bible.
Had Dr. Tauriac screamed 'oh dear God it's an atheist" and ran away she would have never had that opportunity to minister to them. Had she been hiding in church too heaven bound to do any earthly good she would never have had that chance either. There is an in between. Gray areas folks, gray areas.
In truth, I expected In Between The Lines Of Faith And Work to end with Dr. Ashley telling us how great her life is. It did not. I respect the honesty and transparency this book was written with. God did not answer all the prayers, heal all the people, or solve all the problems. Dr. Ashley didn't just tell us about what she went through all them years ago. She was honest about her life past and present. She did not sugar coat her faults or gloss over her weaknesses. (Don't feel bad girl I have that good ole perfectionism/overachieving demon too. lol!)
Dr. Ashley was honest about everything from her health and limitations to her doubts and fears. In Between The Lines Of Faith And Work is an encouraging reminder that perfection is not required. God loves us now. Even though we failed a test. Even if we missed church to go to work. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of God's unconditional love and His magnificent strength in our times of weakness.
Whether you are a student/ professional/ doctor or a stay at home mom In Between The Lines Of Faith And Work will have something in it for you. My official recommendation is just read it. The advice Dr. Ashley gives is practical and actionable. I can't say enough how much I loved reading a book that espoused one of my beliefs so well. I just want to scream from a mountaintop that there is an in between. For everything. There really is. Balance, my good people. Balance.