Gratitude in Life's Trenches: How to Experience the Good Life. . . Even When Everything Is Going Wrong

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Item No. 9781944967802

by Robin Phillips

No end of books these days offer us techniques for self-improvement. Taking a different tack, Robin Phillips shows that God meets us where we are, in the pain and heartache of the present moment. Instead of looking for a way to escape from hardship, we can cultivate an attitude of gratitude, peace, and self-acceptance that will transform our experience of suffering.

Drawing on his own experiences and his work as a consultant in the behavioral health industry - as well as stories of saints and sufferers, teachings of the Fathers, and recent discoveries in neuroscience - Phillips shows us that the journey to personal well-being is one we can all travel, regardless of the hardships we may face.

About the Author: Robin Phillips is a freelance author and researcher living in the Pacific Northwest. He has a Master’s in Historical Theology from King’s College London and is completing a Master’s in Library Science through the University of Oklahoma. He contributes to a variety of publications, including Touchstone and Salvo, and in his spare time he loves playing the piano, reading, hiking, spending time with family and friends, and writing for his blog. While researching for his earlier book, Saints and Scoundrels, Robin was impressed by heroes of the faith who retained a spirit of gratitude in the face of suffering and affliction. After experiencing some setbacks in his own life, he decided to study how these Christians were able to live the good life even when everything was going wrong. This book is the result of that spiritual journey.


Praise for Gratitude in Life's Trenches:

"Modern pop Christianity too often deals with suffering through cotton-candy forms of denial. Orthodox Christianity, by contrast, sees that suffering can be for our own salvation -- but only if we accept it in a Christian way. Robin Phillips uses Scripture, Orthodox teaching, and stories from everyday life to show how we can not only carry our crosses, but also be made holy by them. Phillips has a gift for making profound wisdom accessible to a wide readership. This book will open closed minds, gladden weary hearts and change people's lives." -Rod Dreher, senior editor at The American Conservative and author of The Benedict Option and Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents

"Who among us has not, at one time or another, found themselves trapped in the dark, disorienting trenches of life? When we are at our lowest, what we most long for is not an end to pain, but a lens to help us locate meaning from within it. Like a luminous beacon, Robin Phillips's Gratitude in Life's Trenches guides travelers lost on the seas of stress, weariness, chronic toxic thinking, and despondency back to the harbor of gratitude and the peace only Christ offers." -Nicole M. Roccas, PhD, author of Time and Despondency: Regaining the Present in Faith and Life

Read more under EDITORIAL REVIEWS


Author: Robin Phillips

Paperback: 328 pages

Dimensions: 6 x 9 inches

Publisher: Ancient Faith Publishing

Additional Formats:
eBook

Related Media:
Blog | Behind the Scenes | Gratitude in Life's Trenches: an interview with Robin Phillips

LOOK INSIDE... Gratitude in Life's Trenches: How to Experience the Good Life, Even When Everything Is Going Wrong

Editorial Reviews

"Robin Phillips is a holistic thinker who takes the gems of truth from neuroscience, psychology, sociology and theology to show How to Experience the Good Life. His book is honest and accessible to everyone. This is a book that can change hearts and lives." -Bishop John, Antiochian Orthodox Bishop of Worcester and New England

"Modern pop Christianity too often deals with suffering through cotton-candy forms of denial. Orthodox Christianity, by contrast, sees that suffering can be for our own salvation -- but only if we accept it in a Christian way. Robin Phillips uses Scripture, Orthodox teaching, and stories from everyday life to show how we can not only carry our crosses, but also be made holy by them. Phillips has a gift for making profound wisdom accessible to a wide readership. This book will open closed minds, gladden weary hearts and change people's lives." -Rod Dreher, senior editor at The American Conservative and author of The Benedict Option and Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents

"Perhaps the best way to describe this intriguing and original book is by borrowing the familiar format of an old joke: ‘A theologian, a monk, a psychologist, and a neuroscientist went into a bar.’ Would they have anything to say to each other? Phillips thinks so, based upon a proficient and well-researched familiarity with each interlocutor. He provides an eavesdropped account of the rousing conversation that could be had. But don’t they each speak in their own exclusive and unintelligible language game? Yes, admittedly so, but Phillips proposes two mitigating factors. First, although the jargons are multiple, the subject is singular. They are dealing with one human person, in soul and body, and the universal virtues that make for happiness. Second, this book explores the linkage between theoria and praxis. Theory without practice bears no subjective fruit (a dilemma the first two face), and practice without theory lacks objective purpose (a dilemma the second two face). This is therefore not your ordinary self-help book because we are not being told to simply help ourselves, rather we are guided to a long-stemmed tradition, rooted in Scripture and verified by saintly ascetics. Phillips puts the empirical sciences in the service of Christian revelation, making spirituality practicable." -David W. Fagerberg, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, author of Consecrating the World: On Mundane Liturgical Theology

"Robin Phillips has offered a clear and orderly consideration of what it means to be a real human being and live the so-called 'Good Life.' This is a book of testimonies brought together with helpful questions for reflection, presented in a refreshing way to encourage readers to awaken to the value of life-changing gratefulness to God, even without what contemporary advertisements conspire to convince us are essential for happiness. At the heart of the book is the great paradox of Christianity: 'We find our true self, not by grasping good things for ourselves, but by giving our self away (Lk. 9:24).' Phillips has assembled a diverse group of experienced strugglers from the ancient voices of St. John Chrysostom and Julian of Norwich to modern witnesses like Mother Theresa, St. Silouan the Athonite, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Viktor Frankl, C. S. Lewis and Nick Vujicic, along with a bevy of contemporary literary figures. They point us toward the deep mystery of God to be found beyond the obvious signposts of pleasure and pain, and mindless avoidance of suffering and loss. What is to be found on that less travelled road? Gratefulness to the God who encounters us in the places we most fear He is absent." -Rev. Dn. Stephen Muse, PhD, pastoral psychotherapist, author of When Hearts Become Flame; Being Bread and Treasure in Earthen Vessels

"Drawing upon a vast array of sources, both contemporary and through the centuries, Robin Phillips has gifted us with a brilliant guideline for human flourishing, providing much practical guidance for making real in our lives St. Paul's axiom: 'Godliness with contentment is great gain' (1 Tim. 6:6).  May this book help bring many to a greater verve for living in the endless grace of our Lord, no matter what our surrounding circumstances may be." -Dr. David C. Ford, Professor of Church History, St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary, and author of Women & Men in the Early Church: The Vision of St. John Chrysostom

"Robin has offered a book of comfort and hope to those who are going through pain. For example, he discusses how we can train ourselves in gratitude even when everything is going wrong, and how hope, love and comfort can shine forth even in our darkest moments. This is a book I wish I had been able to read when I was recovering from the emotional wounds of the burglar attack." -Cherie Calbom ("the Juice Lady"), popular speaker, television celebrity, and author

"In this book, Robin provides well-researched best practices for being overcomers rather than victims. Through these strategies, we can lean into life, manage our difficulties, develop our emotional muscles, and enhance our personal and collective meaning. For Christians, there is an additional Source of assistance, help, comfort, and peace, and Robin reminds us of what this Source offers, and how we can intimately incorporate this Person into our daily living. Robin is honest and vulnerable about his own journey, and shares how he has incorporated these practices into his own life when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. He has integrated truths from psychology, neuroscience, and Christianity into a holistic view of how we can live our lives with hope and victory, regardless of our challenges." -Dr. Graham Taylor, Clinical Psychologist, Founder of the Taylor Study Method, Chief Learning Officer Triad Behavioral Health, and Host of Triad’s Behavioral Health Today Podcast

"Gratitude is his grand theme, but that only begins to describe Robin Phillips' definitive "self-help" book for Christians. In Gratitude in Life’s Trenches, Phillips has re-invented the genre, weaving seamlessly into his narrative threads seldom found together: Holy Scripture, the Church Fathers, the latest psychological research, studies in neurophysiology, and the wisdom of Christian monks and mystics. Phillips blends anecdote and analysis to produce a narrative that is daring, honest, and relevant - daring in the way he demonstrates to an unbelieving world how the message of the Cross heals us and our relationships, honest in the way he bares himself and leans into his own discomfort (to borrow his phrase), and relevant in the way he offers creative and useful suggestions for finding the right path and staying on it. This book should become a staple of the classical curriculum, and should be read by every young Christian before heading off to college." -David V. Hicks, author of Norms & Nobility

"Who among us has not, at one time or another, found themselves trapped in the dark, disorienting trenches of life? When we are at our lowest, what we most long for is not an end to pain, but a lens to help us locate meaning from within it. Like a luminous beacon, Robin Phillips's Gratitude in Life's Trenches guides travelers lost on the seas of stress, weariness, chronic toxic thinking, and despondency back to the harbor of gratitude and the peace only Christ offers. By integrating contemporary therapeutic concepts including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness, and logotherapy with historical Christian disciplines like the Jesus Prayer and sacramental living, Phillips affords readers a time-honored toolbox of granular skills and strategies that help reel the restless mind back into the heart in prayer. This book will not change your life, rather it will help change your perspective on the struggles in that life, which (as Phillips, too, has learned) is of infinitely greater value." -Nicole M. Roccas, PhD, author of Time and Despondency: Regaining the Present in Faith and Life

"Gratitude is difficult in a real, broken human life and this is a book that does not gloss over the difficulties. Phillips shows that the classical Christian response of gratitude remains helpful in finding meaning and even happiness. This is helpful book without falling into bromides." -Dr. John Mark Reynolds, President, The Saint Constantine School

"Many modern books which claim to offer consolation to readers who are weighed down by distress merely focus on feelings, self-empowerment, and self-actuation. However, Gratitude in Life's Trenches is a truly Christian book and so Robin Phillips skips the easy, feel-good pablum. Instead, Phillips gives readers ways of considering suffering in the light of eternity and God's goodness. Gratitude is the rare spiritual wellness book which is filled with genuinely profound theological meditations that Phillips has made accessible to all." -Joshua Gibbs, public speaker and author of How to Be Unlucky

"Gratitude in Life's Trenches is a book I am excited to share with my entire community!  Robin Phillips has brought us a timely, not to mention timeless, guide on finding true joy in our lives.  I knew this was the perfect book when he said 'It came me to see that the good life is about finding a type of joy that only comes when we give up the pursuit of happiness and pursue meaning instead.'  Please purchase this book not only for yourself, but also for the wisdom it will give you when ministering to others who may come to you in pain." -Cynthia Damaskos of Holistic Christian Life/Filled With Less

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Additional Information

Author:
Robin Phillips
Paperback:
328 pages
Dimensions:
6 x 9 inches
Publisher:
Ancient Faith Publishing
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