Winner of the 2018 TGC Book Award for Christian Living
“And God saw that it was good…” Look out over the world today, it seems a far cry from God’s original declaration. Pain, conflict, and uncertainty dominate the headlines. Our daily lives are noisy and chaotic—filled with too much information and too little wisdom. No wonder we often find it easier to retreat into safe spaces, hunker down in likeminded tribes, and just do our best to survive life.But what if God wants you to do more than simply survive? What if he wants you to thrive in this world, and be part of its redemption? What if you could rediscover the beauty and goodness God established in the beginning?
By learning the lost art of discernment, you can. Discernment is more than simply avoiding bad things; discernment actually frees you to navigate the world with confidence and joy by teaching you how to recognize and choose good things. When you learn discernment and develop a taste for all that’s good, you will encounter God in remarkable new ways. Come, discover the God who not only made all things, but who will also make all things good once again.
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About the Author
HANNAH R. ANDERSON lives in the haunting Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She spends her days working beside her husband in rural ministry, caring for their three children, and scratching out odd moments to write. In those in-between moments, she contributes to a variety of Christian publications and is the author of Made for More (Moody, 2014) and Humble Roots (Moody, 2016). You can connect with her at her blog www.sometimesalight.com and on Twitter @sometimesalight.
Table of Contents
1 Taste and See 19
2 The Good Earth 31
3 Worldly Wise 47
4 Whatever Is True 63
5 Whatever Is Honorable 79
6 Whatever Is Just 95
7 Whatever Is Pure 111
8 Whatever Is Lovely 125
9 Whatever Is Commendable 139
10 Every Good Gift 155
11 Our Common Good 171
Benediction (for further study) 187
What People are Saying About This
Praise for All That’s Good
When the topic of discernment arises, I get nervous. Maybe you do, too. Many of us have been on the receiving end of the well-intended comments of others, offered in the name of godly discernment. With the Bible as her steady guide, Hannah Anderson points us toward good definitions and good practices to help us obey the command to be people who know how to discern rightly. I’m so grateful for this clarifying book.
Author and Bible teacher¿¿
Few authors capture the nuances of Christian wisdom and avoid reducing it to the “do’s and don’ts of life” or “the five steps to sound decision-making.” Yet in¿All That’s Good,¿Hannah Anderson skillfully captures wisdom’s many sides, delivering a thoughtful, informed, and accessible approach to the¿art of discernment¿for all Christians.¿By grounding her approach in God’s good creation, Anderson calls readers to reconsider how God is at work in His world, how we experience the world around us, and especially¿how we think¿as we journey through life with God.¿For all who desire to cultivate virtue and grow in wisdom and discernment, move¿All That’s Good¿to the top of your reading list.¿As both professor and pastor, I strongly recommend it. ¿¿¿ Benjamin T. Quinn
Assistant Prof., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Pastor, Holly Grove Baptist Church
All That's Good urges us to grow in true discernment by developing a taste for God’s goodness. Weaving nostalgic storytelling with wisdom and soul, Hannah beckons us to deep, biblical thinking. Readers will walk away looking for God’s pure, lovely, redemptive, restoring character in the world around them. This is a timely book on an always relevant topic.
Emily Jensen and Laura Wifler
Cofounders of Risen Motherhood
All That's Good has arrived at just the right moment. In an age of tribalism and “fake news,” it’s more important than ever that Christians develop their discernment skills in order to follow Christ well in spite of the challenges of our current cultural moment. Hannah illuminates eternal truths in an accessible manner that all Christians will walk away from this book with tools to navigate this present age as better neighbors, citizens, and disciples. Kathryn Freeman
Director of Public Policy, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission¿
Once again, Hannah Anderson has written a book that not only points readers toward the good, the true, and the beautiful, but is¿all of these things as well. This book recovers life-giving, joy-generating applications of the Christian faith that have been lost for generations to the spirits of fear and enmity that have come to define the relationship of many believers to God’s good world. Anderson’s reminder to “taste and see” the goodness of God all around us is a welcome invitation for us all.
Karen Swallow Prior
Author of On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books and Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist
Hannah Anderson has long been a source of wisdom and insight into the spiritual nature of the public and the public nature of the spiritual. She captures the truth about things we all see, but can hardly explain. In All That’s Good, Hannah does it again, refusing the false public/private dichotomy that starves our public life and splits our souls in half. Reading this book will help you bring your whole self to the public, discerning what is good and what is not, and partnering with God to see His goodness become even more realized in the world. What a soul-nourishing read Hannah has provided for us in these pages.
Author of Reclaiming Hope: Lessons Learned in the Obama White House About the Future of Faith in America
I’ve always seen discernment as a basically negative thing: make sure you don’t embrace something bad. Hannah Anderson has convinced me that it is a positive thing: make sure you do embrace what is good. This book, like the biblical text it centers on, is good, true, honorable, excellent, and praiseworthy. Buy it, read it, and think about such things! Andrew Wilson
Teaching Pastor at King’s Church London¿ Hannah Anderson presents a beautiful and needed guide for¿finding the good that’s often hidden within the world’s brokenness. In¿All That’s Good,¿Hannah’s signature¿storytelling¿revives the lost art of discernment and inspires us to hunt for¿His goodness in all the nooks and crannies of life. From family relations to¿community involvement to political discourse,¿All¿That’s Good¿trains us to sort through the constant barrage of¿information and opinion, so we can assess what’s good from what’s not. Rather¿than telling us WHAT to think, Hannah¿teaches us HOW to think—and with that¿skill, we are able to fully embrace the goodness of this life. Erin Straza Author of¿Comfort¿Detox
Managing Editor of¿Christ¿and Pop Culture
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
All That's Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment is 200 + page reflection on Christian discipleship, in particular, what comes after the grasping some of the depths of Biblical wisdom. Hannah Anderson, a writer, and wife of a pastor in Virginia honestly shows the complexity and hopefully joy of what the work of discernment is. Here discernment is the lifelong path of following wisdom, based on Christian grace. It is a work she writes of, one with delayed and even present gratification. Anderson spends most of this book in a reflection of Philippians 4:8. Truth, honor, justice, purity, beauty, commendable, and excellence have their own chapters. These are not presented as merely abstract concepts, but as daily occurrences, things that often hide in plain sight. And these objects of discernment are made to things that are to be worked on, studied as a skill, but at the same time, paradoxically, given in surprising ways in sudden ways. The writer draws from many many contemporary writers in literature, art, sociology and other sources to show how these Christian practices are neglected and yet still available. This volume is great for individual and group study, and for stepping into a conversation about not just avoiding bad things in rigid ways, but actively seeking joyful life.
I just finished All That’s Good,Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment By Hannah Anderson and this book is in my Top Five for 2018. This book was excellent. Hannah challenges us to think about discernment in a completely different way than we often do. Hannah walks us through how we can not just avoid the bad but delight in the good by walking us through Scripture. I love how Hannah uses illustrations and stories to bring her points to life. I often feel that I could be sitting across the table from her as she shares her heart. I recommended this book if you like me have ever struggled with what discernment really means. I was blessed to receive a copy via the publisher. All opinions are my own.
*I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers. No compensation was given for a review. All thoughts are my own.* It’s easy in today’s world to quickly retreat to simpler times, similar mindsets and stay in a comfortable, like-minded bubble. I mean does anyone else purposely avoid watching the news? I do. It’s full of hate, death, and ugliness. But, “and God saw that it was good..” applies to now. Today. All That's Good focuses on discernment, not just simply avoiding bad things; but how discernment actually frees us to navigate the world with confidence and joy by teaching us how to recognize and choose good things. Anderson breaks down Philippians 4:8, "...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable..." into easily digestible, but at the same time extremely thought-provoking chapters. I love how Anderson writes, she weaves everyday things (coffee shops, board games, mystery novels) perfectly into the theme of her chapters backing up her points with scripture. It is so authentic and down-to-earth, and I find that so appealing about her writing. I eagerly await her books, quickly devour them, and then am bummed to be finished with them. Time to reread her books ASAP. Highly recommend this book (really ANY of her books) to all Christain readers.
All That's Good: Recovering the Lost Art of Discernment is the third book from blogger, author, and podcaster Hannah Anderson. When I learned that Hannah was releasing a book that focused on discernment I was very excited. Discernment is a topic that's really piqued my interest as of late and I was interested to learn what Hannah had to say about it. In the Introduction of the book, Hannah states, ". . . discernment simply means developing a taste for what is good," (pg. 13). Rather than just informing readers with her thoughts on what it looks like to pursue what is good, Hannah takes readers on a journey through the virtues listed in Philippians 4:8. There is a chapter devoted to each virtue which I really appreciate because it creates a unique lens for exploring the concept of goodness. I enjoyed the personal anecdotes she included at the beginning of each chapter which served as parallels to the virtue she was deliberating on. Prior to reading All That's Good, I had thought of discernment as possessing wisdom when it comes to knowing when something is not true. Hannah argues, however, that this is only one aspect of discernment. My favorite chapter is the one on truth in which Hannah wrote, "Our fear might be able to tell us something is wrong, but it cannot tell us what is wrong, how or why it happened, or who even is to blame," (pg. 71). This idea really struck me because it is very true. As one who vacillates between fear and faith, I found this thought to be very poignant and helpful. As I continued to read this chapter, my heart was convicted when I read, "As much as we want other people's sins exposed, we must be willing to have ours exposed too," (76). Because of wrestling occurring in my own heart, I was instantly humbled upon reading this. My favorite aspect of All That's Good is that Hannah looks to God as the definition of goodness and challenges readers to think about how decisions they make will bring Him glory. One of the most beautiful quotes in the book is found on page 97, where Hannah said, ". . . when God calls us to righteousness, He appeals to His own, 'Be holy for I am holy.'" She also said a few pages later, "In order to become discerning people, we must embrace Jesus," (pg. 101). The way Hannah writes is intelligent, wise, and overall, refreshing. It is evident in reading Hannah's books (and even in listening to her podcast) that she doesn't desire to tell readers what to think but rather, how. This makes her a great fit for writing on the topic of discernment. I really enjoyed the refreshing perspective offered in All That's Good. If you're looking to learn more about what it means to practice discernment biblically or simply desire a good read, I highly recommend All That's Good. I received All That's Good compliments of Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
"What discernment does is equip us to see the true nature of the world and of ourselves, both the good and the bad," says Hannah Anderson in this book. Anderson unpacks the art of discernment as a call to seek, become, and follow a God who embodies the qualities of a portion of Philippians 4:8: "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable" (ESV). This book is far bigger than "Think this, don't think that. Do this, don't do that." This book is about the pursuing and the becoming of good, all because of a good, good God. This book is about who we are more than it is about what we do or what we think, though it includes those things. As usual, Anderson cuts to the heart of our problems with discernment and points us to the cure in Christ's finished work for us. "We miss a world of good, beautiful things because we are so worried about making ourselves good and beautiful that we don’t have time to see that God has already made us good and beautiful through His Son. And we miss His good gifts because we are too busy trying to earn them." Thank you to Moody Publishers for an eARC of this excellent book in exchange for my honest review.