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Household Gods

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Is Family an Idol?
Household Gods by Ted Kluck and Kristin Kluck have written a most interesting book on the topic of making a happy, healthy family an idol in the lives of well meaning Christians. In a world that is struggling against broken and dysfunctional families, this book presents that some families have gone too far the other way in putting more importance on a strong family than their relationship with God.

The authors use examples from their own life to portray how a well meaning Christian family can put their family as their first priority instead of having God in that position. Still the book comes across as a lot of rants and very few solutions, which isn't particularly helpful.

When I first started this book I was very sceptical about this concept and wondered how important it really was in the scheme of all the seemingly more important problems facing both the world and the church today. However they do raise some valid points and in particular some of their examples are quite challenging.

The narration was quite good as there were both male and female narrators to cover the husband and wife authors section, which was quite well done. Also it flowed quite smoothly and was quite easy to understand.

This book would be good for parents to read to make sure they aren't falling into the trap of worshipping their “perfect” family that God has given them.

This audio book was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audio books at christianaudio.com.
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Review by / (Posted on 1/13/2015)
A Cautionary Tale
Household Gods by Ted and Kristen Kluck sets out to expose one of the biggest and most overlooked idols of my generation: the family. The Klucks’ premise is that the family has replaced God for many American Christians, and the church does little to challenge this idolatry, possibly even encouraging it. They are spot on in their evaluation.

The book unfolds in a memoir-esk fashion; walking through with brutal honesty Ted and Kristen’s dating, engagement and marriage, their infertility issues, their financial challenges, their over-commitment to sports, and more. They explain how each of these circumstances brought with them new idols to worship, and how these idols eventually came crashing down with emotionally crushing force.

Household Gods is a cautionary tale about how the everyday can become our everything, and leave us broken and empty when our idols fail to deliver. The chapters on infertility, sports, and money are particularly good. While I found this book incredibly convicting, what was missing for me is a celebration of the blessings of following the true God and worshipping Him only. Why not take the reader to the One Source of true life after exposing all the phonies? This is what American Christians are really desperate for.

I appreciated Ted’s cultural references to grunge music, Wes Anderson movies, and the New Calvinists. He has a unique voice as a writer, and this book got me excited to read some of his other books, as this is the first of his I’ve read.

This is a must read for all the comfortable Christians in our churches; the ones who have no major vices, and don’t see themselves as idolaters. We are all worshippers, and Household Gods may just be the wake-up call you need to avoid the emotional fallout of misplaced worship. Check it out!

Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 11/2/2014)
Great Book, Especially for Hipster Neo-Calvinists!
I tend to gravitate toward unusual books. Today, best sellers are usually "10 steps to this" or "three steps to that". Those kind books are about as deep as a thimble of water. They are soooo boring. Give me something I can sink my teeth into. When I saw this book, it really peaked my interest - How can family become an idol?

I think what drew me to listen to this book is the fact that in today’s society the family is derided so much. From the idiot dads, to the single parent households, the nuclear family is all but extinct. So how can it be placed as an idol when no one cares about it anymore?

If an idol is something we replace God with and the family is considered "out of date", how can it become an idol?

When starting this book, I felt I would be disappointed - Ho Hum, another Hipster Postmodern Neo-Calvinists whipping himself in public to show everyone how humble he is.

I WAS WRONG. What I saw here was a man who seemed to have it all, but was miserable because he placed his dream of a perfect family in the place of God’s will. In places, you can see the pain that both he and his wife have faced.

This idol of the family was created because of our culture’s desire to destroy the family. In many cases, the Christian pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. We have placed family as such a priority, that all else pales in comparison.

How do we get our priorities right? Place God back on the throne! When we place Him first, all other things will fall into place.

All in all, this was a very good book. The narration was very well done and the sound was crisp and clear. They have Adam Verner (male) as narrator for Ted’s part and Amy Rubinate (female) for Kristin's. Both do a great job.

I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it, especially for those Hipster Postmodern Neo-Calvinists, of which I am a part of - minus the postmodern.

I highly recommend this audiobook and give it a 5 out of 5 star.

I enjoyed this book courtesy of the Christian Audio review program at http://christianaudio.com and received the audio book, free of charge, from ChristianAudio.com in exchange for an honest review.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 11/1/2014)
Good book, a little Negative
3/5 Stars

This is a book well worth checking out, especially if you are a parent currently raising your family. The writing style is quite engaging and enjoyable. The author makes a lot of good observations, many of which are challenging and thought provoking.

It does perhaps seem a little strange in today's world on first blush, to produce a book telling people to make sure they don't put too much stock in their own family when so many families are doing so terrible. The problem would seem to be more that people are valuing themselves too much, and their family too little.

Be that as it may, there are definitely many people who pride themselves on their high view of family, and it can be seen as a virtue, even when it hurts other (more) important things.

My criticism of the book would be that it seemed to have a rather negative focus on all the things we're doing wrong, as opposed to showing us how to make our life more about Jesus. I don't think his observations are bad or out of place. The main thing should be Jesus, not the problems with family. If we can keep Jesus #1 in our lives a lot of things will begin to fall into their proper place. As you read this book, just remember to keep the main thing the main thing. Focus on your relationship with Jesus, not on not worshiping your family.

Thank you Ted and Kristen for your transparency and courage for writing a book that is willing to take a hard look at our own idolatry.

The audiobook version of this book is excellent. Great job, narrorator!

I received a complimentary audiobook review copy of this book courtesy of christianaudio.com
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 10/29/2014)
More Personal Experience Than Biblical Theology
Ted and Kristin Kluck tackle a largely neglected issue in the Christian world: the worship of family. They do a great job drawing attention to the issue, but the title seemed a bit misleading. My initial impression was that the book would address different ways we place family first and God second, and this was the point, but much of the voice of the book seemed to be isolated soapbox rants against mega churches, book publishing, and comfortable living among other topics. The main author voice (Ted) talks mainly about his own failures as a man and nothing much else. The stories about his struggles with idolatry seem to drag on when the point he is making can be made with less words. Frankly, I grew tired of hearing about this man's idolatry, as if I didn't have enough problems in my own life. But I cannot argue that much of the information presented needs to be heard in our society today. We often don't realize what idols we place in our lives. This book is also not a biblical theology of family idolatry. It reads more like a memoir of personal experiences with family idolatry rather than a thesis building a case using biblical support, for there isn't much in the way of biblical citations. On a side note, the narrators of the audio edition do a fine job of communicating the book in an engaging way. I received this audiobook free of charge from christianaudio Reviewers Program in return for an honest review.
Overall
Review by / (Posted on 10/26/2014)

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