By Jesse Medina
Secrets Behind Closed Doors is a book dedicated to dealing with some of the most common, and most serious, problems facing Christians today. Written by David Ray, a man with years and years of experience counseling those who struggle with these issues, Ray dives in providing hope and help to others.
But, he falls short.
The book is poorly written and even more poorly organized. Each chapter is dedicated to an issue (Homosexuality, Pornography, Co-Habitation, etc.) with a short story of someone who found themselves dealing with that particular issue. From there, Ray leads into 6 or 7 “Guidebook Answers” insights from his experience.
The problem is that Ray’s insights are overly-simplistic. It is difficult to imagine these “Guidebook Answers” (the very name of which seem to betray their actual helpfulness from the get-go) being put into practice and creating long-term genuine healing. Life is simply too messy, too complex to be able to be adequately addressed through six or seven nuggets of self-help advice. If anything, they are the most entry-level steps for someone to take as they very first begin their path to recovery. But don’t expect to gain much if you’ve been at your recovery process for very long.
After “Guidebook Answers” there is often (but not always) additional thoughts/insights not covered in that section before getting to the “A.P.S.” (Author’s Post Script). Each A.P.S contains a “Discussion Room” which is really a series of statements that the reader is asked to rate either true or false…but no guide or discussion or even an idea of whether the reader is right or not before ending with a prayer from the author for the reader/those struggling with the issue-at-hand; a fact which necessarily alienates the troubled reader from the expert author.
While the overall content of the book may be helpful for some (I suspect it will only be so for those who are in the very beginning stages of addressing their issues; otherwise Ray is saying nothing new or noteworthy), readers may get lost in the jumble of content. This book has serious content organizations problems.
I don’t mean to diminish the potential helpfulness of the book and if you struggle with one or more of the issues addressed in the book, you may benefit from it, but if you do end up reading it, be prepared to slosh through content that may or may not apply and to deal with poor organization, mediocre writing and unfinished stories.
Jesse is an old soul who loves to read, write, and talk theology and believes most things are better while smoking a cigar. You can read more of his thoughts at his blog, Now But Not Yet.