Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves by James Hollis (Gotham Books, 2007).


hollisSuicide bombers. Self sabotaging behaviors. Madmen shooting innocent people. Addictions. Marriage destroying actions. These and a hundred other puzzling behaviors prompted me to read this book. While not providing a definitive “once and for all” solution to the problem of evil, I found it somewhat helpful and am happy to summarize it. As always, summaries are brief and of necessity leave out important information. I’ve gleaned what I consider the salient points. To get the full message I recommend you read the book. It’s hard going at times, hence this road map.

Click here for free 9 page summary.Why Good People Do Bad Things (.pdf)


Forgive and Forget by Lewis Smedes


Forgive and Forget.Smedes. Click link for nine page summary.

Smedes forgive coverAlthough this book is an oldie, it’s a golden oldie. There are hundreds of books on the subject of forgiveness but none of them (to my knowledge) summarize the topic as well as Smedes. The best books on forgiveness cite Smedes as a seminal thinker in this field. As a marriage and family therapist I hear many stories of horrific evils either committed by or committed against family and friends. We’ve got three choices when this happens: invent a time machine and go back in history and undo the deed (impossible), hold a grudge and risk the poison of bitterness (unhealthy), or work toward forgiveness (hard but liberating). This was the option chosen by MLK, Tutu, Mandela, Ellie Weizel, and others. Smedes gives us pointers on how to do it. I’ll be happy if this summary whets your appetite to read the whole book.

The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis


The perennial problem faced by monotheists, the problem of pain, is addressed by Lewis in this book from the 1940s. The fact that he later adjusted his understanding of suffering after his wife died (A Grief Observed) does not take away from the thought provoking role this work from a Christian layman.

Problem of pain