Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Disciple Formation and *Raw Spirituality* by Tom Smith (a Book Review)

Raw Spirituality is written by Tom Smith, a South African minister whose heart has been formed to truly care about discipleship in the Christian community. He’s seen “discipleship” used as a sales pitch and drives us away from that in his book. He’s given us a good story on discipleship here and the end-of-chapter questions set us into a conversation with the author.

The book is Continue reading

Seasons and Ted Kooser’s *The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book* (A Book Review)

The Wheeling Year has been a study in writing the seasons. But, before writing comes noticing and with noticing comes a metaphor. This is Kooser’s gift and it’s a gift he’s sharing with me in these pages.

The gift doesn’t transfer exactly. I don’t see things like Kooser and may never see them his way. But I feel my eyes opening. Mr. Kooser is showing me how to see. He’s teaching me by sight how to become alive and call out the life that flourishes right where I am.

This is profound spirituality and Kooser is a gentle, soft-spoken prophet of God. “If you have ears, listen. If you have eyes, see.”

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.

A Year with Thomas Merton (A Book Reaction)

I’ve been reading this day book off and on for a couple months now, enjoying each 4-5 paragraph reading. My hope in reading has been to see what made Merton who he was in the ordinary. I’ve read and been captivated by several of Merton’s books now and each book has a handful of sentences that extend beyond a normal person’s spiritual experience. As I read, I feel myself pulled into something new, something living.

In A Year with Thomas Merton I have the privelge to see the “normal” Thomas Merton. The days are journal entries, small pictures and captured moments of an ordinary, lived spiritual life.

Of course, where else it is supposed to be lived? …and that’s the point, that’s the gift this book offers. It pulls us down from the esoteric spirituality philosopies and into the back yard garden soil. As I read these daily journal entries (compiled into this day book many years later by some other person), there’s a permission that’s given to re-enter the ordinary and there discover the Presence of Christ.

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard (Book Reaction)

Reading about the life of writing is a search for a muse, a hunt for some artistic stimulation that sends you to your own writing. The Writing Life is like following Dillard around, watching her discover new muses and fight through droughts of non-writing. She keeps you around as a conversation partner, though you don’t have much to say. But this doesn’t bother her.

In a way: A muse igniter is what this book is. You’re brought into the writing lab (wherever that may be) and allowed to read a master’s process. As she works, you feel something within yourself turning over. Like being in the presence of someone quite creative and seeing their creativity create something ex nihilo within your soul, this book is your chance to be the fly on the wall.

Add to this, Dillard is just fun to read – a genius at expressing the uninhibited, real human experience.