A Book Review – Open by Craig Gross

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The first time I heard the word accountability was shortly after high school. A good friend of mine asked me if I wanted to be accountability partners with him. This meant that we would talk about the deeper things that boil beneath the surface; things that hold most tightly to themselves. I am not sure if I was scared or what, but I quickly declined his invitation. I did not want anyone getting closer. I was an island.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent…

– No Man Is An Island, John Donne

Open, by Craig Gross, is a book that encourages living a life in accountability to another. The book is divided into three parts:

  1. Part 1: Why accountability is…(Good, Safety, Deep, Necessary)
  2. Part 2: What you need…(Honesty, Courage, Help)
  3. Part 3: How – Get…(Involved, Intimate, Effective)

Open by Craig Gross

The Good:

Starting in Chapter 8, I love how Craig breaks down exactly how to establish an accountability relationship and exactly what that looks like. He talks about the small things such as:

  • Picking someone of the same gender.
  • Finding someone you are compatible with (preferably someone who knows you).
  • Having an accountability partner whose views are slightly different than your own (this way you avoid someone who is simply going to be a yes-man and will instead challenge you).
  • Choosing someone who you can trust. I have found point to be especially true. If you don’t trust your accountability partner you will never go below the surface conversations that you have with everyone else.
  • Taking into consideration whether you want someone in the same stage of life (income, age, marital status, kids, etc.) as yourself.

Though Craig’s background is primarily in dealing with pornography through XXXChurch, in Chapter 9 he goes beyond porn in asking, “What are you seeking accountability for?” (p146). This is a fantastic question because accountability can be for almost anything from exercise to the spiritual discipline of reading the Bible. I know that when I hear the word accountability I automatically think of someone needing to overcome some sort of terrible sin.

Finally, in Chapter 10, Craig discusses scheduling, deciding on a meeting place, and what the format for an accountability meeting looks like.

“Honesty can be spontaneous, but spontaneity often arises from planning.” (p171)

He suggests:

  • Five minutes of small talk
  • An opening prayer
  • A series of staple questions you ask each other each week (“How was your week? Were you honest and truthful in all you did? State one lie you have told someone in this past week or a secret you are keeping from someone else or the group.” (p173))
  • Asking specific questions that apply directly to you (Did you steal from the cookie jar?)
  • Closing prayer
  • Further discussion/ small talk
  • Close

The Bad:

I dislike the tone that Craig writes with at the beginning of Open. The first few chapters paint a picture of a man who is all about self promotion/himself. This turned me off to the book and caused me to skim until I found material that was actually helpful and worth reading (the back half/practical end of the book). This is a shame as I can see this as a turn off to other readers.

In Closing:
Despite a poor beginning, Open features useful discussion on the why’s, how’s, and what’s of going beyond the personal island and seeking out others to walk through life with.

I was given a copy of this book by BookSneeze. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

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Book Review: Open by Craig Gross

Standard

The first time I heard the word accountability was shortly after high school. A good friend of mine asked me if I wanted to be accountability partners with him. This meant that we would talk about the deeper things that boil beneath the surface; things that most hold tightly to themselves. I am not sure if I was scared or what, but I quickly declined his invitation. I did not want anyone getting closer. I was an island.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent…

– No Man Is An Island, John Donne

Open, by Craig Gross, is a book that encourages living a life in accountability to another. The book is divided into three parts:

  1. Part 1: Why accountability is…(Good, Safety, Deep, Necessary)
  2. Part 2: What you need…(Honesty, Courage, Help)
  3. Part 3: How – Get…(Involved, Intimate, Effective)

Open by Craig Gross

The Good:

Starting in Chapter 8, I love how Craig breaks down exactly how to establish an accountability relationship and exactly what that looks like. He talks about the small things such as:

  • Picking someone of the same gender.
  • Finding someone you are compatible with (preferably someone who knows you).
  • Having an accountability partner whose views are slightly different than your own (this way you avoid someone who is simply going to be a yes-man and will instead challenge you).
  • Choosing someone who you can trust. I have found point to be especially true. If you don’t trust your accountability partner you will never go below the surface conversations that you have with everyone else.
  • Taking into consideration whether you want someone in the same stage of life (income, age, marital status, kids, etc.) as yourself.

Though Craig’s background is primarily in dealing with pornography through XXXChurch, in Chapter 9 he goes beyond porn in asking, “What are you seeking accountability for?” (p146). This is a fantastic question because accountability can be for almost anything from exercise to the spiritual discipline of reading the Bible. I know that when I hear the word accountability I automatically think of someone needing to overcome some sort of terrible sin.

Finally, in Chapter 10, Craig discusses scheduling, deciding on a meeting place, and what the format for an accountability meeting looks like.

“Honesty can be spontaneous, but spontaneity often arises from planning.” (p171)

He suggests:

  • Five minutes of small talk
  • An opening prayer
  • A series of staple questions you ask each other each week (“How was your week? Were you honest and truthful in all you did? State one lie you have told someone in this past week or a secret you are keeping from someone else or the group.” (p173))
  • Asking specific questions that apply directly to you (Did you steal from the cookie jar?)
  • Closing prayer
  • Further discussion/ small talk
  • Close

The Bad:

I dislike the tone that Craig writes with at the beginning of Open. The first few chapters paint a picture of a man who is all about self promotion/himself. This turned me off to the book and caused me to skim until I found material that was actually helpful and worth reading (the back half/practical end of the book). This is a shame as I can see this as a turn off to other readers.

In Closing:
Despite a poor beginning, Open features useful discussion on the why’s, how’s, and what’s of going beyond the personal island and seeking out others to walk through life with.

I was given a copy of this book by BookSneeze. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

Surf Report – 2/19/2012

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Welcome to the Sunday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :

Met with my accountability partner this afternoon. We walked 6 miles and got to catch up from last week. Discovered that the City of Longview has both a park for big and small dogs. Size discrimination is okay in the dog world, I guess.

This past week, my wife and I started a new devotional book, Moments with You by Dennis and Barbara Rainey. We had been looking for a quick devotional book to go over in the morning and this looks to fit the ticket. The devotionals consist of a short story/ lesson, questions to ponder, and a suggested focus for your prayer time afterwards. I’ll have to let you all know how this book works out. Consider a review incoming.

.: Life :

Spent my Saturday evening gaming it up with a good friend of mine. He taught me how to play Dungeon Defenders. The game is a mix of a hack’n’slash and a tower defense game. Had a really good time until my computer overheated. Had been downloading stuff all day and for some reason this pushed the laptop to its breaking point. BAM! Black screen of nothingness.

.: Gaming :

Started to play the Mass Effect 3 demo the other night. I stopped when I realized that the quickly made up Shepherd character I was playing with was not “my Shepherd”. Also didn’t want to ruin the ME3 storyline. Consider the demo deleted and the game hopefully pre-ordered soon.

That’s it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!

Surf Report – 2/5/2012

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Welcome to the Sunday edition of the Surf Report.

.: God :

Saturday, I met with my accountability partner for the first time. We walked 2 miles, discussed the pre-determined scripture we were supposed to read (1 & 2 Peter), and went through the following list of questions:

  1.  Have you been a testimony this week to the greatness of Jesus Christ with both your words and actions?
  2.  Have you been exposed to sexually alluring material or allowed your mind to entertain inappropriate thoughts about someone who is not your spouse this week?
  3.  Have you lacked any integrity in your financial dealings this week, or coveted something that does not belong to you?
  4.  Have you been honoring, understanding and generous in your important relationships this past week?
  5.  Have you damaged another person by your words, either behind their back or face-to-face?
  6.  Have you given in to an addictive behavior this week? Explain.
  7.  Have you continued to remain angry toward another?
  8.  Have you secretly wished for another’s misfortune so that you might excel?
  9.  Did you finish your reading this week and hear from the Lord? What are you going to do about it?
  10.  Have you been completely honest with me?
I have to say that some of these questions are pretty intense! I know that this week I’m going to be living in light that I am going to be asked some tough questions related to my actions. This should be good.
.: Life :

I‘ve had a cold for the past two weeks now. This hasn’t made me feel too active or wanting to do too much (like writing). I have, however, slowly continued reading through Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. The book has made me hate Steve Jobs for how terrible he could be to those around him while at the same time admire his drive and ambition; the book has also made me want to buy a Mac.

.: Gaming :

I beat Mass Effect 2 this past week. A total of 28 hours (including DLC) of traveling with Commander Shepherd and the crew of the Normandy. The game surprised me by how much it sucked me in with it’s storyline and voice acting. Not sure what I think of its abrupt ending or whether I’ll be suiting up again for Mass Effect 3. Rest in peace Miranda.

That’s it for this weeks Surf Report. Make sure to comment below and have a good week!