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RECLAIMING OUR JUDEO-CHRISTIAN LEGACY OF HEALING TOUCH: By Linda L. Smith, 244 pp., Arvada, CO: Healing Touch Spiritual Ministries Press, 2000, $22.95, paperback.


Despite Smith's title and intent, it is difficult to reconcile her interpretation of Healing Touch with a biblical understanding of Christianity. Smith likens Healing Touch (HT) with the "laying-on of hands" found in the Christian tradition, but states HT "does not recommend or require a specific religious orientation or organized religious system. It can fit within all spiritual paths, although the focus of this book is to explore HT within the Judeo-Christian tradition" (p. 7). Smith describes the Judeo-Christian God as "the Source, Creator, Spirit, Universal Energy, Higher Power-whatever name you give the Ultimate Source-the oneness of all that is" (p. 7), suggesting that God is not what the Bible teaches but what or who we decide he is. Smith states that HT gives practitioners more healing techniques through which they can use their hands as God's instruments of healing, but conversely maintains the healing energy can come from God, universal energy, from our own aura/energy or whatever we believe the energy is.

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Smith does provide an accurate overview of the origins of Christian healing from the Bible and the history of healing traditions in the church. However, she concludes that in modern times there is a coming together of Eastern and Western healing practices, science and spirituality, telling us that "when we examine many of the new forms of healing that have developed (i.e., Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, Reiki), there really isn't anything new-it is all quite ancient. There are striking similarities between healing practices from the East and Christian healing" (p. 70).To this end she incorporates references from the Bible, mysticism, Buddhism, Kabbalah, Taoism and Energy Healing and treats all as equal truth.


Perhaps most distressing is that nowhere could I find where Smith presents a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as requisite for being a Christian. Conversely, she proclaims, "I have begun to see we all are on a spiritual path, moving towards home" (p. 6). Smith elucidates the mystic path that leads us to connection with the "Whole," saying, "In the holy moments of our meditation and contemplation we cannot help but be aware of the divine within us and within the whole universe. Being a mystic does not mean one has to be perfect. Joan Borysenko describes the mystic as one who: 'sees beyond the illusion of separateness into the intricate web of life in which all things are expressions of a single Whole. You can call this web God, the Tao, the Great Spirit, the Infinite Mystery, Mother or Father, but it can be known only as love'" (p. 192).


Smith's book and teaching rest on the assumption that the "energy" of Eastern belief and the Christian understanding of God are one and the same. This is problematic. Though Christianity is inclusive (all are invited), it is clearly exclusive in the belief that there is only one God who names himself, is to be honored exclusively (Ex 20:1-7; Deut 6:4-5; Mt 22:37-40) and provides only one way to be in relationship with him through Jesus Christ (Mt 7:13-14;Jn 14:6). Sadly, Smith does not seem to buy into this understanding of Christianity.





RETHINKING THE LANGUAGE OF BIBLICAL PROPHECY AND APOCALYPTIC, By D. Brent Sandy, 263 pp., Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002, $16.00, paperback.


A discussion of the future among Christians typically raises questions about biblical prophecy. Sandy provides an outstanding, easy-to-read book for interpreting the prophetic language of Scripture. Rather than thinking about prophecy as a crystal ball, Sandy suggests prophecy is a tool to help us understand God's character and his ultimate plan for ridding the world of sinfulness and establishing his eternal, righteous kingdom. The biggest problem in understanding prophecy is not figuring out a blueprint for the future but trying to take an incomprehensible, infinite God and his plans for heaven and earth and make him comprehensible to limited, finite humanity. Sandy suggests that the prophets used rich metaphors, dramatic hyperbole, cultural parallels and thorny paradoxes to beautifully and powerfully illuminate four big messages from God: 1) the deity of God; 2) humanity at the limits of disobedience to God; 3) calamity that will come because of disobedience; and 4) prosperity, peace and joy beyond limit that result from obedience. The key to understanding prophecy is entering into the world of the prophets and studying the historical context of their writings and their use of metaphors. Sandy divides the language of prophecy into three general categories of a) judgment/destruction; b) blessing/salvation; and c) apocalyptic, and helps us understand how to appraise each. He proposes that the overarching focus of all prophecy is Jesus Christ, specifically his ultimate restoration of the world to perfect relationship with God and his triumph as Lord of the universe. Despite the importance of accurately interpreting prophecy, Sandy draws a powerful conclusion, stating, "If improving our understanding of prophecy can help us be obedient to the Word of God, then something really valuable may be accomplished" (p. 208).

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A GUIDE FOR NURSES: By Eleanor J. Sullivan, 175 pp., Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson /Prentice Hall, 2004, $19.95, paperback.


Sullivan gives nurses a practical, hands-on tool to becoming more influential. She helps readers understand influence-what it is, how it works, why it is needed, how to assess it and the risks of becoming influential. She explores the game of influence within organizations and discusses various rules of the game and why nursing doesn't fit the traditional rules of power and influence. Sullivan shows how to use influence effectively as well as how to undermine personal influence and be ineffective. Power, image, communication, politics and related topics are discussed, along with practical tips for effectively using each of these tools of influence. Sullivan concludes by offering specific strategies for setting into motion a plan to increase personal influence and contribute to the influence of the nursing profession.

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The book is not specifically Christian in focus thus Sullivan does not refer to godly power or the influence the Christian possesses, however, her book aligns well with Christian principles, including, "In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you" (Mt 7:12).





MANAGE YOUR FUTURE IN THE CHANGING WORLD OF HEALTHCARE: By Annette T. Vallano, 357pp., New York: Kaplan / Simon & Schuster, 2002, $18.00, paperback.


Vallano portrays the health care landscape of the twenty-first century in an interesting, upbeat fashion, covering the big picture of nursing, practice, education, administration and technology; new graduates, older nurses, second career nurses and men in nursing. Vallano helps readers think about what is happening in various health care arenas and what the savvy nurse needs to do now to plan for the future. Using a business marketing approach, she gives action ideas to convert your nursing career into You, Inc., seeing yourself as CEO. As CEO, you develop personal departments for product development, market research, planning, networking, advertising and sales. Extensive appendices offer print and Internet resources for general and nursing career development, self-management, and specialty and professional nursing organizations and certifications. Listings provide State Board of Nursing NCLEX examination centers and ANCC Magnet Status health organizations.

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This book could be a helpful adjunct to the Christian nurse or student who is contemplating what God might have planned for their future in nursing and health care.




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