Friday, April 17, 2015

[Book Review] "Whatever the Cost" by @DavidDBenham and @JasonBBenham

Every year around this time, we attend the excellent Teach Them Diligently home school conference (this year in Atlanta, GA). This year, David and Jason Benham of Benham Realty Group based out of Charlotte, NC were keynote speakers this year and they delivered. If you need a memory refresher on who the Benhams are, they were scheduled to have a show called "Flip it Forward" on HGTV last Fall, but it was canceled because of bullying by the "tolerance" group called GLAAD, based on the simple fact that the Benhams are Christians and voiced their opinion on a few issues.

While at the conference, I was able to sit in on the Benham's three sessions and hear their hearts and their faith. All I can say is that these guys are the real deal. Everything that you may hear about them from the left is pretty much false or skewed in such a way that one would think the Benhams are on the extreme right (think Westboro Baptist Church). They are definitely not on the extreme right. They are Christians living out their faith.

On to the recently released book, "Whatever the Cost: Facing Your Fears, Dying to Your Dreams, and Living Powerfully", I couldn't have read it at a better time in my life. In January of this year, I left a job with benefits to work from home as a freelance web developer and to teach a course in web development at Columbia International University, my alma mater. The situation has been less than ideal since then, with the main client that I left my job for basically dropping me for unknown reasons, and the finances just not being there. That said, the Benhams have been through a lot of dying of dreams in this book, and that is what is important to note and what I will focus on in this review.

My dream for several years has been to work from home to provide for my family. My skills allow my to work from anywhere to build websites, most of the time. The Benhams were both drafted into Major League Baseball, but never made it out of the minor leagues and had to die to those dreams, instead building a foreclosure realty business out of Charlotte, NC, which lead to another dream they didn't know they had of a reality show on HGTV.  This was yet another dream that had to die when a website called "Right Wing Watch" slandered them and GLAAD bullied HGTV into dropping the show.

Through reading this book, I see things in my life that I need to focus on with my family, my faith, and my work. One principle that I've been learning over the past few months, which is extremely hard when you have a family to support, is to "produce more value than you take in pay." The Benhams brought that out in the book, but that is difficult to put forth when the bills are due. One thing that is clear is that we need to focus on God's mission and that is to be faithful to Him and His Word. The church today tries to allow the culture to dictate their policies and that is wrong and unBiblical. Another principle from this book is that Christians are the Church. It is not hate or discrimination to stand on what the Bible says about sin, but we need to let our "theology be our biography" as Flip Benham (the Benham's father likes to say). If we get persecuted for that, then we are probably making an impact.

This book details the Benham's life from when they were born right up to after the HGTV controversy. The brothers were already somewhat well-known before HGTV, though I had not known of them before. That said, I believe that because of HGTV, they have been given a larger platform now than if their show had moved forward and they were on the air. Today's culture doesn't like to hear the truth. They like to shut down any voice they disagree with, labeling it has hate and discrimination. Through meeting the brothers and hearing them, I can testify that they don't hate or discriminate against anyone.

As Christians businessmen, we are always in the position where we could potentially have to work on something that we may disagree with. I would develop a website for a homosexual, with one exception, it must not promote the homosexual lifestyle. That's not hate or discrimination, that's just holding to my beliefs that homosexuality is a sin based on the Bible. The Benhams are the same way. They have no agenda except to make Christ known. This book is an important book in the Christian culture "wars". It should help all of us to look into our own lives, make changes, and live for the Gospel, not for ourselves or culture.

This book was purchased by the writer of this review and no compensation has been provided for writing this review.