Monday, December 22, 2008

Soul Revolution (Review)

I just finished my last book for review by Zondervan. Thanks guys. It is John Burke's new book, Soul Revolution. It was released in October. Let me preface my review by explaining that I could not stand his first book, No Perfect People Allowed. I thought he had too many anectdotes and not enough substance. This second book is very similar in many ways and nsignificantly different in others.

The premise of the book is that if a person wants to grow spiritually, one way to do it is to connect with God for 60 seconds every hour. When the top of the hour comes, pause and listen to God. Reorient your life to His voice rather than our circadian rythms. It is an experiment Burke does from time to time in his church and he sharess many anecdotes about how it has been helpful to those who practice it.

Thankfully, it is not completely anecdotal. He does a much better job of curbing his testimonies and adding more of the reason why these practices are important. It is incredibly approachable, no matter how much experience a person has with God. That is, he explains the cliches he uses, and makes it understandable to somebody who hasn't grown up in the church, which is a major strength. At the end of each chapter is a section focused on application. These are incredibly weak because they are identicle every week (talk to you running partners, think about the chapter, pray). They are not specific at all.

That being said, overall I enjoyed the book. He keeps spirituality simple, which is how it was created to be. This is a bare bones manual for growing closer to God, and is useful to a person who is intimidated by words like "Spritiual discipline" or "spirituality". It is basically how to live a Christian life and stay connected to God. It is a manual on abiding in God's presence (similar to Brother Lawrence's practicing the presence of God)

For a book to be worthwhile, it has to have either a new idea, or a new packaging of an old idea. Soul Revolution is a new packaging, but a very unique version of it. For that, it is worth purchasing if you would like to grow closer to God, but just don't know how. Especially if you are intimidated by books written before 1900.

The Good: very approachable. Very pracitcal. very simple. True to Scripture. Fits its purpose of introducing spiritual formation to young Christians.

The Bad: horrible application (it felt forced). Too many anecdotes at points. Gets repetitive about halfway through.

The verdict: Worth purchasing if you are new to spiritual formation. If you are familiar with Dallas Willards's The SPirit of the Disciplines, or Fosters work, or Ortbergs work, or any other introduction to spiritual formation, or if you like Christianese, not the book for you. I will recommend this to new Christians, and that's about it.

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