Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Book Review of Spiritual Rhythms in Community by Keith Meyer

Spiritual Rhythms in Community
by Keith Meyer
ISBN 978-0-8308-3561-4
Intervarsity Press
Formatio Imprint
Reviewed by Clint Walker

Intervarsity Press is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers. They publish many well-written thought provoking books. My favorites of the books they publish, however, come from the Formatio Imprint.

The Formatio imprint is a line of books focusing on matters of spiritual formation. They have great, well-known writers, and they cover a number of issues in the discipline.

In the last few months IVP has published two quite interesting books on the nature of spiritual formation in community. The first one I have studied is Spiritual Rhythms in Community by Keith Meyer. It is a phenomenal book that I am going to have to read again in partnership with others.

In this book Meyer leads his students through disciplines of disengagement, followed by disciplines of engagement. The rhythms of disengagement are designed to help the readers take a step back from the hurry and hustle of life to intentionally relate to God in a meaningful and intimate way. The dance of engagement disciplines are designed for us to engage our friends, family, and the world in a more meaningful and gospel-centered manner.

Each chapter begins with a psalm. Each Psalm has a brief reflection from the author, which then leads into his teaching on some challenge or issue in the spiritual life. Then, after the author's teaching, the text leads the readers in a spiritual practice of some sort. After this there are questions for reflection on what the experience of this practice was like. I love the way this is laid out. The Psalm slows me down. The chapter engages my mind. The spiritual exercise engages my heart.

This book is designed for use in small groups. So, if you are planning on using this in a small group and/or leading it, it is essential that you both read the group guide in the back of the book, and the introduction at the beginning of the book. Both will give you helpful hints on how to lead a discussion on the book and to get the most out of the book for you and your group.

Meyer's writing is enjoyable to read. It provokes thinking and reflection without being overly heady or wordy. The author is open and honest about his own experiences. He is a good story teller. Even if you are not able to use this book in a group as intended, it is a great resource for the spiritual journey. Some spiritual formation books can make the reader feel small and unaccomplished in the journey with Christ. Meyer helps his readers feel empowered as disciples to do the growth they need to do as apprentices of Jesus.

I highly recommend this book.

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