In Voices of Influence, author Mauclair Ayeley Obimpeh addresses like-minded people of Pentecostal Christian faith with the intent of examining the voices they listen to and how adhering to the wrong or right voices can shape self-perception as well as life’s journey.
Obimpeh draws her convictions from the stories and passages of the Bible, and each of the 25 chapters—which read as unrelated and sometimes repetitive devotionals—focuses on specific scriptures that reflect the tensions and themes of which voices to hear. They touch on leaders, what family or church members say, the impact of today’s media, and even dreams.
Ironically, Obimpeh’s own voice isn’t always easy to follow. Frequently, her writing shifts from the viewpoint of a preacher talking at readers to a cultural critique, from first-person testimony to third-person commentary and back again.
For example, in the chapter entitled “The Pastor’s Voice,” Obimepeh uses a strange anecdote of how one man abuses his authority as a pastor, but then shifts to the second-person, warning readers to “ask the Holy Spirit to lead you to the right fellowship or worship centre” without clarifying how the two relate. She then jumps to “time immemorial” and suggests—again without connecting the preceding ideas—that God has selected specific men and women “who are mediums of delivery to His children.” Her point here is far from clear. Such disconnects in her writing and the focus on seemingly random topics or biblical passages is often confusing, ultimately detracting from her message.
Obimpeh believes that the wisdom Christians need to navigate today’s challenges is found when they deliberately turn their ears to heaven, rather than listening to the voice of the devil. Christian readers will no doubt agree that this is a crucial lesson for people of faith. But it’s a discussion that would have been better-served through a more careful structure and writing approach.
Also available as an ebook.