Wednesday, September 4, 2013

God in My Everything by Ken Shigematsu

We get so busy we feel like we are crowding God out of our lives. And they may even be good activities we are doing. But a deeper relationship with God just seems like something for monks, not those of us in the middle of an active life.

What if there was a way to experience God at the center of our being in the midst of our busy schedule? What if we could weave friendship with Christ into the fabric of everything we do?

Ken visited a monastic community in Ireland and was moved by what he experienced. He began to incorporate into his daily life a rhythm of practices based on what the monks called a rule of life. His goal was to have Christ at the center of all he did.

In this book he helps us build our own rule of life. He suggests we work through specific areas in our lives by giving us some teaching on it, some examples, and then giving us space to write down how we might develop practices in that area. He begins with ROOTS: Sabbath, Prayer, and Sacred Reading. Next is RELATE: Spiritual Friendship, Sexuality, and Family Life. Then RESTORE: Care for the Body, Play, and Money. Finally REACH OUT: Work, Justice, and Witness.

Rather than being overwhelmed in implementing a rule of life, he encourages us to start simply, build slowly, prune regularly, be aware of the rhythm of our energy, take into consideration the season of our life, stay flexible, include times of fun, and include some kind of community or relationship.

I have never seen a book like this that allows us to develop our own rule of life based on our temperament, stage in life, work schedule, etc. He gives us examples of the practices and how others keep them. We have the opportunity to contemplate the examples and determine how we might incorporate them into our lives. Our rhythm of prayer can be early in the morning, late at night, during the idle moments of our day, with others or alone, spoken or silent, and perhaps following a prescribed pattern. Once we determine our practice (or a combination of them), we write it down and it has become a part of our rule of life. Ken has even included samples of written rules of life from people in various life stages.

This book has great value for the Christian community. We tend to leave our spiritual life to hap hazard attempts. Reading this book has given me the opportunity to realistically map out a pattern for developing a Christ centered life. I highly recommend it.

Ken Shigematsu is the Senior Pastor of Tenth Church in Vancouver, BC, one of the largest and most diverse city-center churches in Canada. Before entering pastoral ministry, he worked for the Sony Corporation in Tokyo. He lives in Vancouver with his wife and their son.

Zondervan, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

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