My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When People are Big and God is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man, Edward Welch
Outstanding book on the fear of man. Thesis: Fear of man is, crippling, unloving and sinful; and the solution is fear of God. Welch does a masterful job at showing the extreme variety of manifestations the fear of man takes, making it clear that we are all guilty of it to one degree or another. He is also right on with his solution – fear of God.
The biggest weakness of the book is probably the section on needs. His premise is that desires are fine, but they should not be elevated to the status of needs. What follows is a somewhat confusing discussion of the difference between the two. Essentially it boils down to the idea that once a desire becomes too strong it becomes a need, and needs to be reduced back to desire status. Among the desires Welch says are not needs are psychological desires – particularly the desire to be loved. Much of what he says is very good, but I think he goes too far. He says we should want to glorify God rather than pursue our own self-interests. But the two are not opposed to each other – our greatest self-interest is the very thing that glorifies God. And things like comfort, rest, sympathy, joy etc. are legitimate desires, and should therefore be very strong. The error is not when they become too strong, but when they are sought from people rather than from God.
The rest of the book, however, is excellent, and I highly recommend it.