Broadman & Holman
What type of fish are you? Are you a wild Pacific salmon, an Atlantic salmon, or just a cod? Graham and Treena Kerr start their book asking this question. They go on to explain that these three types of fish have unique personalities when it comes to traveling boldly, or not so boldly, back to their spawning place. Like the fish, readers will be ready to embrace boldly, or not so boldly, the ideas presented in the Kerrs’ new book, Recipe for Life: How to Change Habits that Harm into Resources that Heal.
The authors have created a term, outdulgence, meaning to “convert a habit that harms into a resource that heals” (p.3). Outdulgence is an example of Christ’s great commission. It involves helping those around us one person at a time.
In part one of the book, the Kerrs explain how taking “fifty” will create a resource that heals. First, find fifty cents within your daily habits. Do you have a habit that is harmful? Figure out how much you would save by not eating or doing it, and put the saved money into a bank account. At the end of the year send the savings to a non-government organization. The second fifty deals with bigger issues that could be subtly harmful. In this case the savings could impact either time or money.
Part two of Recipe for Life explains the authors’ lives, their born again commitment to Christ, and the birth of outdulgence. It is in this section the reader gets to know Graham and Treena as people, not merely as some far off celebrities affiliated with the TV program The Galloping Gourmet. A human characteristic the reader discovers about the Kerrs happens after their rebirth. They do not become perfect. Both write with a refreshing honesty about their struggles as they try to do God’s will. Admitting they do not always succeed, the authors willingly get back onto God’s path when they find they have strayed.
Each chapter starts with one of Treena Kerr’s poems; she has a flair for poetry. Graham Kerr usually takes over the writing of the prose. However, Treena will intersperse her poems and some of her own comments amidst her husband’s narrative. Graham says in the prologue, “[P]lease receive her in italics as we share as two people with one purpose” (p. xii). The information the Kerrs have to share is interesting. The way they have used the italics to allow Treena a voice is unique. One problem I had with the book was the lack of continuity of events. Another problem was their use of a few British colloquialisms with no explanation of those expressions.
I recommend this book. Outdulgence is an interesting concept, and any Christian would benefit from reading about it and about this interesting Christian couple. – Victoria Borgman, Christian Book Previews.com
“Galloping Gourmet” Graham Kerr and his wife Treena have spent the past twenty years embracing a Christ-like lifestyle they call outdulgence. Here, the Kerrs share the transforming details of such a truly good life that trades constant consumption and self-serving for creative simplicity and healthy self-denial to benefit others. A deep and delightful approach to what Jesus described when He said, “I have come that they may have life and have it in abundance.”