Saturday, February 15, 2020

The Common Rule by Justin W Earley

How to live an intentional, transformation producing Christian life in this era of media distraction is a challenge. Earley shares his experiences and the life changing habits he developed.

The idea of a rule of life goes back centuries. Christians have developed a set of habits to grow in the love of God and neighbor. Such practices may be more familiar in liturgical churches than evangelical ones.

Earley developed eight habits. Four of them are daily while the other four are weekly. They can be arranged in a diagram with each having a specific designation.

Love of God: Sabbath, fasting, prayer, Scripture before phone.
Love of neighbor: meals, conversation, phone off, curate media
Embrace: Sabbath, prayer, meals, conversation.
Resist: fasting, Scripture before phone, phone off, curate media.

Each of the practices is reviewed with suggestions for implementation and further reading. He includes his own philosophical thoughts and the experiences leading him to the practice. I particularly liked his thoughts on the use of (or lack of scrolling on) social media. He also has good insights into the benefits of curating media. “Limits are where freedom is found.” (117)

The strength of this book in not the specific practices but rather the philosophy behind them. Readers may not want to implement the specific habits Earley did but reading this book will provide a good platform for thinking about and establishing one's own “rule.” There are many resources within the book as well as online to make this a good book for personal reflection or for use in a small group.

There is a series of YouTube videos for small group use. You can find out about them and more at .

You can watch the book trailer here.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Justin W Earley (JD, Georgetown University) is the creator of The Common Rule, a program of habits designed to form us in the love of God and neighbor. He is also a mergers and acquisitions lawyer in Richmond, Virginia. He previously spent several years in China as the founder and general editor of The Urbanity Project and as the director of Thought and Culture Shapers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the community through arts. He and his wife have four sons and live in Richmond, Virginia.

InterVarsity Press, 204 pages.

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