The R Option ? Building relationships as a better way of life

The R Option – Building relationships as a better way of life,

Michael Schluter & David Lee, Jubilee Centre, 2003, £9.49

This book presents a very simple thesis – that life consists of relationships and we can improve our lives by acknowledging the importance of these relationships and developing them.  The book aims to challenge its readers to think relationally about every aspect of their lives and to inspire them to build on these relationships.  Having established this thesis in the opening chapter, the authors set about applying the principle to many different areas of life.  Each subsequent chapter establishes how the principle can be applied in a given context, from sex and soul mates to management and money.  Each chapter essentially stands alone, making the book easy to dip into, and is carefully illustrated with examples from the authors’ own experiences or from their business contacts and colleagues.

Although the theme of the book is clearly relevant to a wide spectrum of society, the examples chosen suggest that it is aimed principally at professionals and business people.  The concept of relationships ought to be fundamental to academia where Universities are communities of scholars.  Yet, we all know that this is so often a far cry from today’s business orientated, competitive departments where performance indicators reign.  As such, this book is a timely reminder that we shouldn’t marginalize those relationships that are essential to successful and enjoyable University life.

The book is written in a very pithy and accessible style that lays out its main points in a simple yet non-patronising way.  This direct approach means that even the busiest reader can be inspired to apply the R-option before they’ve finished reading the book.  Those wanting a thorough, well-argued academic analysis of relationships will be disappointed; this is not that type of book.  The authors’ earlier work, the R-Factor, sought to provide that basis, this volume seeks to make those principles accessible.

Although written by two committed Christians who have been involved in Christian work, the book is not aimed exclusively at a Christian audience; there is no overt Christian content.  There is, however, a clear Christian sub-text as relationships are fundamental to God and His people.  This makes the book a potentially useful pre-evangelistic tool.  It is the kind of book that could easily be given to a friend or colleague of any or no religion without causing offence and could naturally lead to conversations about its Christian basis.  It also challenges all Christians to think seriously about their work place relationships and how they might build them up to reflect better God’s holiness.

John & Chris Owen