Friday, June 16, 2017

Spiritual Rhythm review

I love learning about and growing in my faith and walk with God. As a scientist (I have a degree in Chemistry) I also love analyzing, everything. So it is natural that I also love analogies; analyzing life and finding mirror images and metaphors to help elucidate reality. Some of the best analogies I have found to the Christian life relate to nature; growth, seasons, gardening are all metaphoric of the spiritual world. Christ Himself used such analogies, saying that He is the vine and we are the branches and gave many parables of gardening and farming. This is exactly what Mark Buchanan does in Spiritual Rhythm, he uses the analogy of nature’s seasons to help us understand the seasons of our lives and bear abundant fruit.

In the introduction, Mark says, “Any book worth reading is worth reading slowly.” That is definitely true for Spiritual Rhythm which is rich with insight into our spiritual lives. Both our lives and books like this require analysis and mulling-over in order to discover and absorb the truth within. It is not enough to read and never think about or apply what you have read, just as it is not enough to simply live without seeking to grow and change to be more like Christ.

This book is broken up into two sections, the first discussing the four seasons of the heart and the second discussing the rhythm of those seasons and how to flow from one to the other. There are several “time-in” sections through out the book with helpful anecdotes and topics for reflection.

The Seasons section has a chapter for each season, starting with winter, each followed by a chapter discussing different activities appropriate (or inappropriate) for that season. For example, spring is the time for plowing and planting, summer is the time for growing. It would be foolish to try to plant in the winter or harvest in the spring.

The Rhythm section has nine chapters dealing with different practices that are applicable to all seasons, each exemplifying the book’s goal of “being with Jesus every season of your soul.” Some of these include Seeking the kingdom of God, Abiding in Jesus through every season and circumstance, and Being a tree by planting yourself near good water and rich soil and letting your roots grow deep so that you can weather the storms when they come.

None of these topics are dealt with casually or lightly. Mark goes in depth with everything to gain maximum understanding, as evidenced by the lessons he has learned through his own life. He clearly has a genuine desire to grow closer to and be more like God every day and to inspire others to share that passion and growth to the fullest extent. Even though I already shared that desire, it has grown increasingly as I read this book. And I look forward to reading it again soon.

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