Category Archives: Book Reactions

Slow Church by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison (A Book Reaction)

“We are impatient, anxious to see the whole picture, but God lets us see things slowly, quietly. The Church [has] to learn how to wait.” – Pope Francis, quoted in Slow Church.

Slow Church, written by C. Christopher Smith and John Pattison (IVP, 2014), is a book that encourages an alternative way of living as the church today. This alternative isn’t new, it’s actually quite ancient, quite rooted in Jesus. But it’s an alternative to what is causing a great deal of spiritual exhaustion today, an exhaustion caused by a church or religious “experience” that is mass produced and exists not for the health of the person but for the reproducibility and market value of the franchise.

Smith and Pattison’s angle is influenced by the “slow food” movement. The “slow food” movement says that personal, communal, and global wellness are tied to the local farmers and craft-peoples – that the best is the smaller, the local, the particular of a specific season and place. “Slow food” speaks a firm, No! to the reduction of a human person to a calorie-intake machine. Instead, it says, “Taste what is local and can only be found here in this time, with these people.”

Smith and Pattison’s Slow Church is about Christian spirituality with Continue reading

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Living in Christ’s Presence by Dallas Willard (Book Reaction)

(Final Words on Heaven and the Kingdom of God)

Whose voice can help us pay better attention to Jesus and the restoration that Jesus brings? I think Dallas Willard sits well on the list.

I’ve been an appreciative reader of Willard for a few years now and had the privilege to meet him at an event in Wichita, KS. There in passing, he held the door for me and in slight hallway conversation I saw a thin glimpse of this man being in his core what his writings try to bring about in others.

As others have said, there is something about Dallas Willard that is truly alive and there’s something about his writing that connects the words of Jesus even more firmly to the disciple.

Living In Christ’s Presence is an overview book, a glimpse of Continue reading

Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen (A Book Reaction)

I read Nouwen like I listened to the stories of my grandparents: I want to carry the family likeness. I want to receive these stories, these words, into the depths of my being and live from that source.

Each day’s reading in *Bread for the Journey* is a short letter of sorts, a little note to live by. They’re small reminders that say, “Don’t forget who you are and the family who is with you.”

The daily sections are short and easy to read; they’re a wonderful way to start the day. In my case, I read them beside Scripture and prayer and let Henri’s words weave the life of Scripture and prayer together. For me, it’s like I’m watching my grandfather live the spiritual life and speak about it right beside me, every morning. I read Scripture and then hear his voice, his thoughts before dawn.