Review of the Lost Art of Relationship

About the Book:

Title: The Lost Art of Relationship

Author: Dan Chrystal

Genre: Christian non-fiction, Christian living

Release date: October 15, 2018

Relationship is a journey of discovery—a lost art. In this generation, it has become challenging to deepen and grow personal relationships with each other. Our technology-flooded environment has left many with limited relational experience and a fear of face-to-face connection and meeting new people.

The church has done a decent job of helping people understand the need and importance of a relationship with God, but what about with each other? At the heart of every man, woman, and child is the need for connection—for relationships with people who love them for who they are.

In The Lost Art of Relationship, Dan Chrystal tackles the heart of relationship based on the time-honored instruction to “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” But what does that mean? How do we live out this odd instruction? Who is my neighbor, anyway? What makes relationships healthy, and what makes them fail? Through Dan’s personal stories and difficult life lessons, readers will come away encouraged, inspired, and motivated to love the people in their life more fully. If you desire deep and meaningful connections, now is the time to discover the lost art of relationship.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

dan chrystal, author

Dan Chrystal has over twenty-three years of ministry and relationship experience. He serves as a pastor for Bayside Church Granite Bay, under the dynamic leadership of founding pastor, Ray Johnston. Dan is a vibrant speaker and a dedicated life, career, and couple’s coach. He holds an MBA in executive leadership from Kaplan University (now Purdue Global University) and is currently studying law at Concord Law School. His extensive ministry background has taken him all over the country, from the east coast to the west, where he has served in varying capacities, including Lead Pastor, Administrative Pastor, Associate Pastor, Worship Leader, and Youth Pastor. An avid student of relationship, Dan is passionate about helping others to love their neighbors as themselves.

“Choose a good reputation over great riches.” (Proverbs 22:1)

Guest post from Dan

For two years, I experienced what many would call a “wilderness experience.” I truly felt forgotten. I had spent twenty years in various aspects of church work having met and coached hundreds of people, and I still felt like I didn’t truly understand why I was put on this earth. I have moved nine times in my adult life. Everywhere I’ve lived, I had to start over—at work, home, schools for kids, and especially in relationship with others.

The last move was different. This time I was no longer looking to connect simply for the sake of connecting. There was a purpose for connection that was brewing inside me. That purpose became the driving force of my life and remains that way today. In fact, it consumes my thought life, relationships, ministry, and every aspect of what I do, think, and say.

Connecting with others has been a part of my life wherever I have gone. This came from watching my mom over many years meet, talk to, and befriend hundreds of people. At her funeral, I had just about that many tell me “thank you” for allowing my mom to be a part of their lives—how she encouraged them and truly got to know them for who they are.

During my two-year “wilderness” period, there was a realization that over all the moves, restarts, connections, coffee appointments, coaching, lunches, and dinners with people, I was learning the essence of what I believe we are called, or actually commanded, to do by Jesus. Such a simple sentence, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” However, it is one of the most difficult things to live out every day. Let’s face it; relationships are messy. They can be downright frustrating at times, but they are a necessary part of life, and the second most important thing to God.

I am by no means an “expert” in relationship. I am and always will be a student of it. I have watched relationships thrive, survive, and some fall away. There are so many divisions that come between us, and during those two years of struggling with my purpose, it became clear—God has designed, purposed, and prepared me to help others discover what it means to love your neighbor as yourself. I am not perfect at this. As a matter of fact, I struggle—sometimes daily. That is what sparked the writing of this book. I have found there is an art to relationship. For most, it is a lost art, one that can be rediscovered. I would love it if you would join me in discovering The Lost Art of Relationship.

The Lost Art of Relationship by Dan Chystal blog tour with  CelebrateLit .

The Lost Art of Relationship by Dan Chystal blog tour with CelebrateLit.

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Dan is giving away a grand prize of an Echo 2nd Generation Smart Speaker with Alexa!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8d6/the-lost-art-of-relationship-celebration-tour-giveaway

Lila’s Opinions:

I read an email from an author back in December (Kristi Ann Hunter in her December Newsletter 12/12/18) in which she talked about the phenomena of gift sets. These are very general items, sometimes weirdly personal items like toiletries, that we would never consider getting a loved one, but we choose to buy them for people we don't really know that well, as long as they have pretty packaging.

“There's a false intimacy in the gifting of these gift sets.... I have a lot of relationships that look a whole lot like that gift set aisle. There are people in my life that I truly consider friends, and when I see them - usually under the guise of some get together or meeting - we share very personal details of our lives. Then we don't speak again until the next meeting.”

This is a phenomenon that several people in my big church rightly deplore. We feel like we get so close to these people at women's retreats, Bible studies, or couples events, but then we never talk to them again. I have a friend who has stopped going to women's retreats because the small group that she shares prayer requests and spiritual thoughts with at the retreat then seems to ignore her all the rest of the year at church. It's false intimacy and doesn't satisfy.

This is where Christian brotherliness—or sisterliness in this case—has fallen apart. In our modern society of text messages and emojis, we've forgotten how to really connect, and the younger generations never knew.

That's why I signed up to review the Lost Art of Relationship by Dan Chrystal. This book is not just about romantic relationships. The principles in this book are broader and are meant to be applied to all kinds of relationships.

Several golden nuggets of wisdom and inspiration hit me hard. Like this one:

“We will all go through dark moments or even dark seasons. Those are the times when friends double down on the friendship—to be there for each other. Think of a time when you were going through an extremely dark moment in your life. Who was there with you? Who stuck with you even though it was difficult? When you are pressed down and surrounded on all sides, who still sits with you, cries with you, and helps you? These are friends.” (p.60)

This hit me like a ton of bricks. When have I done this for my friends? Maybe I've not been the good friend I thought I was. Maybe that's why my friendships aren't as deep and close as I would like.

I really pulled some great nuggets of wisdom and was motivated to work on several areas in my existing relationships. As a relationship book, however, I felt disappointed in the book overall. I guess I just set my expectations too high again for a practical book that would really give me some specific ideas I could use to strengthen all my relationships. It didn't.

While inspirational in many areas and even motivational in a few, answers to “what” filled the vast majority of the pages but the “how” was hidden. I had hoped to find the kind of people who want more meaningful friendships than the casual, “Hey, how are you doing?” as we pass in the church halls. But this book did not address the questions of how to make time in our busy, screen-saturated society. Nor did it really address what to do if the other person rejects or ignores your offer of friendship. The lack of practical application brought it down a star in rating for me.

I also found the quality of editing to be lacking. As an editor myself, this distracts me and interrupts the flow of ideas. I found several wrong words or missing words. Weak sentences, using linking verbs or “there was” constructions, riddled the chapters. Many times a sentence merely restated what the author had already said and didn't add anything new. And several instances of “writerly,” wordy meta-discourse dirtied the pages with “it is true that” and “who are those who” constructions. I expect a few in this casual style, but this book was riddled with weak sentences and even a few poorly organized sections. The chapters could have been reordered to make it flow smoother. I hoped I had received a non-edited review copy, but I asked around and found that wasn't the case. So this brought it down to a 3-star for me.

I expected each chapter to begin with a story from the author's personal experience, move to an explanation of the topic, and then end with some kind of application. Though most chapters included a personal story, not every one of them did. The problem for me was that not only did the structure vary from chapter to chapter but also the main points weren't always clear. Some of the chapters seemed to say, “be like this person in this area, this area, and this area,” even though the chapter was only supposed to be talking about one area at a time. I think it's because most of the stories didn't pinpoint one moment in time to illustrate one specific point, usually. The author focused on the person's character as a whole, which wasn't really compelling for me. The author really showed his humility in spotlighting other people in his life. However, I don't know that his expertise was ever established enough.

However, now that I've got my ranting out of the way, I want to refocus on the good things. I pulled many nuggets of wisdom and saved these quotes to revisit. I was also motivated to work harder in some of my friendships. I picked up this book mainly to learn how to find more meaningful friendships, turning a few acquaintances into life-long best friends.

But I came to see that friendship isn’t about how to attract the right kind of friend; it’s about how I can be a better friend. The Holy Spirit used this book to convict me of several areas in which I came to realize I wasn't being as good a friend as I had thought.

I loved how I saw some of my favorite verses pop up throughout the book. I had already begun writing my blog post about How to Be Best Friends with Your Husband based on Proverbs 27, when I read verse six in chapter nine. Several themes of humility and hope whispered reminders of messages the Lord has made special to me.

I liked the premise, I liked the wonderful nuggets I pulled, and I liked the author's humility. But I can't recommend it as a marriage-counseling book for newlyweds, as it doesn't talk about specific problems in marriage but general problems in all relationships. And I can't recommend it as a book on how to fix a broken relationship, as it doesn't offer many practical suggestions of what steps to take next.

I can recommend it to teens who are preparing to adventure out into the world and could use some general principles of interpersonal relationships. I also could see it used as a devotional in a group setting. If group members would be willing to share their struggles and especially their methods of dealing with them, I think it could be a great conversation starter.

Other golden nuggets:

  • He answers the age-old question, "How do I respond to 'does this outfit make me look fat' when I think it does?" (Men, see p. 175 for the answer.)

  • Examples of questions to ask to get to know someone better or to defuse a conflict on pages 185-186.

  • “We will all go through dark moments or even dark seasons. Those are the times when friends double down on the friendship—to be there for each other. Think of a time when you were going through an extremely dark moment in your life. Who was there with you? Who stuck with you even though it was difficult? When you are pressed down and surrounded on all sides, who still sits with you, cries with you, and helps you? These are friends.” (p.60)

  • "...Relationship transcends external differences." (p.68)

  • "...The purpose of relationship. In one word, it is companionship... Why do families fall apart? It probably has something to do with a discrepancy in companionship." (p.48)

  • "Laughing at yourself and not taking yourself too seriously is an art form." (p.80)

  • "Humility is the antidote to jealousy. Jealousy cannot reside where humility has moved in." (p.102)

  • "...We are always learning... And it is through relationships that we learn and grow the fastest." Boy, do I have some learning to do!

  • "Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future." (quoting Robert H. Schuller on page 120)

(I received this book for free. The decision to write a review, as well as the opinions expressed in it, are all my own. I was not compensated for this review.)