Becoming an overcomer: review of Our Favorite Sins by Todd D. Hunter

Anyone who identifies himself as an “accidental Anglican” has my interest from the start. Such is the case with Todd Hunter, author of Our Favorite Sins. In it, Hunter tackles the issue of tempatation and overcoming the seduction of the path that leads to sin.

Sin, confess. Sin, confess. If you’ve been in the church for a number of years, you’re probably familiar with the “cycle of sin” and maybe even have tried some ways to get out of the cycle. Our Favorite Sins, is like a guidebook for overcoming sin and fleeing from temptation. If you’re not in the church, don’t let that scare you. Hunter writes for the churched and the unchurched, drawing from research conducted by the Barna Group of more than 1,000 Americans of various ages and their temptation tendencies. He also writes from experience. Hunter doesn’t hide his own sin issues of the past and present nor is the book all numbers and theory. Hunter offers practical ways to nurture spiritual transformation and victory over sin and temptation.

FAVORITES: At the end of each chapter, Hunter includes what he calls an “ancient and fruitful” practice, such as a prayer from an ancient text like the Book of Common Prayer. He encourages meditation on the texts and reflection on their meanings. I was most uplifted by this portion of the book, and I’m excited to go back to these texts, either the excerpts Hunter gives or the full texts themselves, and pore over them. As a member of an evangelical church, I would have told you a few years ago that this was nonsense, but I’ve begun to see the richness of these prayers and blessings of saints throughout church history.

FAULTS: At times, I was more interested in the books Hunter quoted from than the one he was writing. It’s a little slow to start as he establishes his reason for writing and summarizes the findings from the survey. However, the second half of the book was enriching and life-giving. I’m interested in more of what Hunter has written.

IN A WORD: Affirming. Since my husband has been in seminary, and through the influence of respected teachers at our local church, I’ve been drawn to the faith practices of the ancients. I find liturgy beautiful and written prayers meaningful. Hunter repeatedly talks about how we’re to join God’s story, a theme that’s been at the forefront of my learning lately. I was blessed by Hunter’s inclusion of high church prayers and practices, and I’m eager to learn more about ways of worship that differ from my own.


I received a free copy of Our Favorite Sins from Thomas Nelson through the Booksneeze Program.

I review for BookSneeze®


Great ex-temptations

I’d love to tell you that week 2 was a great success, a triumphant victory, a jumpstart to the My Loss Their Gain campaign.

Not so.

I spent the week at Rock River Bible Camp, one of my favorite places on earth, counseling at a camp for high schoolers. I had the best of intentions to start the week, and actually, I didn’t do too bad. I skipped the chips at the first meal, chose a Rice Krispies treat over a brownie for dessert and ate a 100-calorie fudge bar during snack bar duty instead of one of the dozen or so candy bars that stared me in the face. The next day, I woke up early and ran a mile, then ate two bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios and some fruit for breakfast.

That’s when the week took a turn, both for the better and the worse. By breakfast, we’d lost power and as the day dragged on, it looked like we weren’t going to get it back anytime soon. The kitchen staff got creative with meals. We used buckets of river water to flush the toilets. We improvised chapel times to use the most daylight we could. By day’s end, we had enough generators to power some of the camp, but not all of it. So, we had showers, but no hot water. And no fans for sleeping at night.

It was a great experience for this challenge, in light (pun intended) of the electricity availability in Liberia, which I’ve heard is unpredictable at best. Some of the kids complained about the circumstances, which reminded me again of how little we know and think of the rest of the world.

While at camp, I also began reading “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger,” a book published the year I was born. Even though its statistics are outdated, its arguments, so far, are compelling. I was particularly struck by this quote from the book, especially on our day without electricity. It’s a quote from another book, “An Inquiry into the Human Prospect” by Robert Heilbroner.

“The world is like an immense train, in which a few passengers, mainly in the advanced capitalist world, ride in first-class coaches, in conditions of comfort unimaginable to the enormously greater numbers crammed into the cattle cars that make up the bulk of the train’s carriages.”

We should have been grateful that we had water, even if it was cold, and that our situation had a forseeable end.

No power meant the ice cream bars in the snack bar freezer were fair game, so we hawked them like a ballpark food vendor. I ate two ice cream bars myself. I’m not proud of that. Over the next couple of days, I ate dessert at both meals, something I had hoped to avoid. Camp food is delicious and abundant and I am sometimes weak.

Tuesday, our electricity was back. I avoided the nacho cheese on taco day and didn’t eat an afternoon snack, but the desserts were again part of my diet and I had popcorn that night.

Wednesday morning I ran 1.6 miles and skipped lunch because my family came to visit.

My notes for the rest of the week only get worse. Desserts, candy bars, second helpings of monkey bread, garlic bread and lasagna. Add to it all small amounts of sleep and massive amounts of coffee and I think, diet wise, this week was a total disaster. Since I’m not at home, I’m not going to weigh myself this week to see the damage because I like the scale to be a controlled factor.

Here’s what I learned, though:

The Bible says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” — 1 Corinthians 10:13.

I was faced with major temptation for food this week. God provided ways out, but I didn’t take them. I knew going in that I would be tempted to overeat, but I didn’t take steps to protect myself from it. I will have a better plan next time.

This week, I face similar challenges. When I’m not in control of the food that’s available for lunch or dinner, I have a hard time eating healthily and in proper portions. It’s also supposed to be scorching hot and I have a lot of places to be and things to do this week that probably won’t allow for much exercise.

I had hoped to give you hope that I’m starting on the right foot.

The journey continues.