Known: Finding Deep Friendships in a Shallow World Review
“I’m connected to several dozen people through Facebook and Twitter. I just don’t know how to start a conversation,” said one university student to Dick Foth, co-author of Known: Finding Deep Friendships in a Shallow World.
Foth portrays a world in which people have friends, but not conversation; share information but not themselves; compete for attention with phone calls and text messages; miss out on tone of voice, inflection, gesture and emotion which comprise the real index to knowing each other. Nowadays, he points out, we spend much time looking down at laptops and other media devices, meanwhile losing focus on the purpose for which we are designed--real human relationships.
The Book and Its Authors
Category: Religion / Relationships
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Dimensions: 8.00 X 5.19 (inches)
Number of Pages: 224
Dick Foth, former president of Bethany College holds a master’s degree from Wheaton College Graduate School and a doctorate from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. He is considered an expert in storytelling and on building successful relationships. His wife, Ruth is a graduate in English from Bethany College. They have been married for 50 years.
Their book contains 22 easy-to read short chapters written by him. Often, at the end of the chapters, Ruth's Thoughts appear. She writes a poem, tells a story, or records her reflections which contributes to the theme of the chapter.
Themes in the Book
In Foth's effort to help restore authenticity in friendships, he teaches the following:
- benefits of relationships built through natural chemistry, over time or under pressure; necessity of conversation to help us talk through our feelings, and develop understanding and respect for each other;
- the value of story telling in sharing who we are, where we came from, and discovering the many similarities between us and our friends; examples of good story telling in the stories Jesus told;
- the power of affirming our friends through prayer; how talking to God about them invokes His strength on their behalf and places value on them even in negative circumstances;
- the meaning of covenant--a Bible concept, which is basically a pledge of friendship to be nurtured with investment of time, tenacity and truth telling; covenant conversations in which friends express the truth about what they know, what they think, what they feel;
- the kind of trust which allows us to love, to share our dreams, to really know our friends and be known by them.
Plus Features of the Book
It is obvious that the seventy-year old Dick Foth is familiar with the media habits of younger people. His insights will positively affect all members of the family -- from the children begging for attention to the adults who bring their phones to the dinner table.
He is an expert story-teller. Throughout the book, he tells stories from his own experiences, from the experiences of others, including the life of Jesus. He does not preach the Bible stories. He makes smooth transitions from Bible times to our day in his practical applications.
Not only are Ruth's offerings effective in adding content. The synchronization between her work and her husband's demonstrates the deep intimacy they share and write about. They illustrate the title of their book.
Reading the book together as a family can be an interesting, relationship-building activity. Children and parents, even grandparents will gain understanding of the motivations which cause the differences in their communication methods.
For individuals who have many "friends" but still feel lonely, this book is recommended as a guide to meaningful conversations and story-telling. Foth teaches the right questions to ask, the kinds of stories to tell, how to develop friendships that allow both closeness and space to grow. In addition, he encourages those in search of deep friendships not to expect from friends, the friendship satisfaction which only God can give.
Adults who are interested in mentoring will learn the importance of storytelling in reaching the individuals who look to them for guidance in building friendships.
I received this book free from the publisher through Blogging for Books (http://www.bloggingforbooks.com). The opinions I have expressed are my own.
© 2017 Dora Weithers