I decided to read this one on a whim the day that it came out. I have enjoyed Shauna Niequists (the authors wife) books, but based on the title expected this one to go one of two ways:
- a list of ways to be a better Christian with some new ideas mixed in.
- a chronicle of how he is abandoning his faith and creating a new journey towards freedom.
It was neither. Rather it was a raw and honest story of a worship leader who felt he could no longer sing words he didn’t believe. It is about a Christian lost and overwhelmed by all of the opinions and sides that are so hostile towards each other.
I deeply identified with this book in many ways. He proposed incorporating spiritual practices that aren’t necessarily from your denomination such as centering prayer, lexio divina, the examen and many others.
He admitted to dreading his morning “quiet time,” and wondering if there was another way. I resonated so much with this. Although I love to journal and read scripture, it can begin to feel so formulaic. Recently, I have connected more with God during yoga. I sometimes practice breath prayers as part of my focused breathing. This may seem wonderful and normal to you, but for me these types of things felt overly spiritual and as if I were doing something wrong.
As I read through Psalms, however, it seems that meditation and quieting the heart are such a natural part of worship and prayer. I still have lots to process, but this book has given me so many ideas to explore.
My overall takeaway from this book is that we don’t have to agree with everything from a certain denomination to learn from them and prayerfully incorporate worship practices that focus on glorifying God and knowing him more.
Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton
What kind of spiritual practices do you do that help you connect with God? What books have you read on the subject?