Book Review: Spiritual Disciplines Handbook

spiritual-disciplines-thumbnailby Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

Adele Ahlberg Calhoun has written a book for believers everywhere who have a desire to spend time in the company of Jesus.  In her book, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us, she writes “spiritual disciplines are intentional practices, relationships and experiences that give people space in their lives to keep company with Jesus.”  The desire for keeping company with Jesus springs from the presence of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life, according to Calhoun, and “spiritual disciplines that do not help us partner with the Trinity in worship are empty worthless acts and a perfect waste of time.”

Wasting no time, Calhoun uses “WORSHIP” as an acrostic to organize more than sixty spiritual discipline practices into seven groups: ‘Worship’, ‘Open myself to God’, ‘Relinquish the false self’, ‘Share my life with others’,  ‘Hear God’s Word’, ‘Incarnate the love of Christ’, and ‘Pray’.  The goal is not that every discipline is mastered.  Rather, the handbook serves as a compass in guiding the reader to discover which spiritual discipline practices fuel their own desire for noticing God and responding to His Word.  Each practice in the handbook includes a tabled summary, pages of discussion, reflection questions, practical steps to help the reader experience the discipline and a list of additional resources.

This book dispels the notion that discipline is drudgery or simply a cadre of repetitive acts of behavior.  I recommend this book for Christians who want to know how their desires and disciplines work together in bringing about the spiritual transformation they are longing for.

Matthew 11:28-30 – Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?  Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill- fitting on you.  Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.  (The Message)

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