Book Review: The Love Relationships by Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian

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The Love Relationships & Heartfelt Words

Authored by Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian

Book review by Lucine Kasbarian

Appearing in The Armenian Weekly, The AMAA News, and elsewhere.

The Love Relationships & Heartfelt Words (Armenian Heritage Committee, 2012) presents readers with a unique view into the spiritual and practical values of its prolific author, Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian. Rev. Tootikian is the Minister Emeritus of the Armenian Congregational Church of Greater Detroit, Michigan, and the Executive Director of the Armenian Evangelical World Council.

In this new, 158-page bi-lingual work, Rev. Tootikian applies his scholarship and vast experience as a clergyman to the fields of theology, human relationships, Armenian history and Armenian traditions – to discuss Christian and Armenian ethics in daily life.

This hardcover volume is broken up into two sections. “The Love Relationships” contains more than 30 concise articles in English and is split into three parts: “Views on Biblical and Other Issues”, “Armenian Issues”, and “Observances”. The Armenian language section, “Srdapookh Khosker” (“Heartfelt Words)”, consists of 12 homilies, essays, and meditations dealing with religious, cultural and societal issues affecting Armenians.

Part I, “Views on Biblical and Other Issues,” contains Rev. Tootikian’s insights on living with love for God, others and self, coupled with episodes culled from the Bible to illustrate the point. Widespread human challenges such as coping with crowd-pleasing versus truth-telling; dealing with the good and bad in people; being on the giving or receiving end of hurt, jealousy or envy; bridging generation gaps and instilling values in children in modern society are addressed, among other topics.

Part II, “Armenian Issues,” contains essays on recovering the Christian faith outside the Armenian homeland post genocide; preserving and presenting the unique Armenian culture; and how Armenian organizations can be more effective. (Rev. Tootikian’s advice here is so crucial, his tips should be made available to as many organizations as possible: He advocates moving from past to future orientation; the need to be progressive and shun complacency; to have built-in provisions for self-examination; to rise above organizational vested interests and seek what is good for the nation; to have an effective program for the recruitment and development of talent; and to develop and keep discipline, professionalism and material resources.)

Part III, “Observances,” contains ruminations about the iconoclasts of Vartanantz, the meaning of Christian resurrection at Easter, and the spiritual problem of Armenian genocidal suffering, among others.

Writings in “Srdapookh Khosker” include Armenian-language reflections about Christmas; Vartanantz; Easter, the 500th anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian book, preserving the Western Armenian dialect, the dangers and consequences of emigration from modern Armenia, safeguarding Armenian schools, and more.

Rev. Tootikian chose highly relevant subjects for this, his 34th book. His conversational style and straightforward approach will easily engage and uplift readers. The global Armenian community greatly benefits when someone with Rev. Tootikian’s abilities provides the opportunity for conscientious people to mull over their lives and their place in the world. As is the case with each of Rev. Tootikians’ other books, “The Love Relationships” will supplement Sunday sermons, family discussions and personal contemplations, and offer readers food for thought and action.

The Love Relationships & Heartfelt Words is available for $25 (with $2.50 per book added for shipping and handling) through the Armenian Heritage Committee, P.O. BOX 531, Southfield MI 48037, (248) 352-0680;; .