Book Reviews

The Spotlight: A Review Of “Broken Trust” By F. Remy Diederich

Hey y’all!  I’m back with another book review.  This time, it isn’t a romantic story!  I think it’s good for all of us to be reminded that as much as I am a romantic, my interests are much broader 🙂

On this episode of The Spotlight, I will be taking a look or, rather, giving my critique/review of F. Remy Diederich’s new book, “Broken Trust”.  I normally introduce my Authors, to say how I know them and came across their books, but this book came to me, before I discovered the Author.  In fact, it was a free gift.  From the Author, which was nice.

He thought that since I have been through the experience of toxic faith with the Jesus Christians, which he defines as “a theologically incorrect message, often involving a legalistic, performance-based belief system, which distorts one’s relationship with God and people“, that I would appreciate the book, and be inclined to review it.   Of course, I was delighted at the opportunity, and I was also desirous to see whether or not and how his book could help me, and settle a few things for me.

So, about the Author.  Remy Diederich is the founding pastor of Cedarbrook Church in the United States.  He also serves as the spirituality consultant at Arbor Place Treatment Center.  He has written six other books and wrote this book to share his knowledge and understanding of toxic faith and spiritual abuse, since his own experience with such in a former Church he was a part of.

The final draft, which I read, consists of 120 pages, five parts and 28 chapters, not including the Introduction and Epilogue.  The chapters are short and focused, and the book is littered with testimonies and experiences from ten different people, who he had interviewed prior to publishing, to share their own perspectives on the abuse they suffered and their recovery.

It was a well planned and researched endeavour, showing a lot of experience in book publishing and also a desire to produce a resourceful book that people can draw strength from.  I found the short focused chapters useful and easy to digest, and very much appreciated reading the feedback from his interviewees, and learning about what they had gone through and how they were faring in their recovery journey.  I could relate to some of their experiences and challenges.

However, I didn’t get what I thought I was going to get from the book overall.  It is definitely a good book that would help people who have never experienced toxic faith or spiritual abuse to be aware of it and steer clear of it, but I found it too basic for people who have suffered more than an insult from their pastor.

Abuse is tricky because no two abuses are the same and no two people would even respond to the same abuse the same way.  If I was sexually harrassed by my Boss, as a young adult and decided to write a book about “Sexual Abuse, Harrassment and Exploitation” to share my insights and also advice for those who have been abused, I think someone who had been a sex slave since childhood might have a challenge appreciating my book!  Not because it lacks truth, but because it lacks depth that is particular to their unique experience.

So, reading his book, though interesting and insightful, left me wanting.  It actually opened the wound of my past experience with spiritual abuse, but didn’t properly address it.  What it did, however, was let me know that my wounds are deep, and that I still need more time and therapy to heal, so that I can truly walk in God’s will for my life.  So, for that, I’m grateful.

I also found the book to be very milky, in the sense that it was HEAVY on grace, to the point that it seemed the truth was insignificant…  And what I’ve learnt through this blog and ministry God has given me, is that both must walk together, hand in hand.  I know he wrote it that way, because people who have believed and practiced a performanced based faith need a lot of re-wiring to appreciate that they CANNOT ADD to what Jesus has done for them.  However, a heavy laden teaching of grace without the proper dose of truth could lead to deception, and is also toxic.  So, we need to always be careful with this, as ministers of the Gospel.

Would I recommend the book to someone who has been spiritually abused?  I think I would, because the availability of such material is lacking, and something is better than nothing at all.  Also, since each person’s experience and response to abuse is unique, they may actually appreciate it in a way that I didn’t.  And if it causes them to realise how much they need or still need help, all the better.

In closing, I would like to say thanks to Remy for giving me his book to read, and trusting me not to abuse that privilege.  You might see from a couple of recent posts on my blog that it has impacted me in the things I am choosing to address.  I appreciated it, and I believe it will bless others!

You can get your copy of “Broken Trust” on Amazon.

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2 replies »

  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review “Broken Trust” and post this honest review. I agree with your critique. Let me tell you why you noticed what you did. First, my experience with toxic faith and spiritual abuse doesn’t involve the traumatizing impact of sexual abuse. My personal experience, and with others, is being controlled and manipulated by performance based spiritual leaders. My book is primarily written to these people. These people often grow weary of trying to please their leaders. My goal is to help show them that what they are experiencing is wrong and they can DO SOMETHING about it: leave or confront it, or maybe both.

    As for being “milky,” I purposefully went heavy on grace because I assume people reading the book are OVER balanced with works. They need to hear the other side: they are perfect in Christ. I trust that once they find balance that the Spirit of God will lead them into a deeper walk of obedience. But yes, taken at face value, the book is strong on grace and light on works. When dealing with wounded people, I don’t believe they need to hear more about what they need to DO for God but more about what’s been DONE by God for them.

    I hope this clears things up for you. If you are a reader who is well read on spiritual abuse and highly traumatized by clergy sexual abuse, “Broken Trust” might not be the right read for you. But I believe there are many people suffering under the weight of toxic faith that will find it to be very helpful in knowing what steps to take to find freedom.


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