Sunday, December 27, 2015

Book Review of Raw Spirituality by Tom Smith



Raw Spirituality: The Rhythms of the Jesus Life
by Tom Smith
ISBN 978-0-8308-3588-1
IVP Formatio
Reviewed by Clint Walker

Raw Spirituality was released over a year ago. I was eager to read it. So eager, in fact, that I waited to read it from cover to cover until I endeavored to write a book review. The length of time it has taken me to read this book has nothing to do with the skills of the author, and has everything to do with me, and how my life has gotten crazy and my priorities a little out of whack. This is a great book on Christian discipleship from an engaging communicator.

The author won me over right away with his earthy, real-life description of a few of the road blocks to authentic spiritual transformation. From the waiter who asked Mr. Smith when describing his struggle with Christian sexual ethics after beginning his spiritual journey the poignant question, "I have asked Jesus into my heart, but how do I get him into my penis?", to the reference to the journey of faith to participating in a gymnasium, to the metaphor of "butt-skins" (protection of rubber tubing between clothes and the skin to reduce the pain of spankings at school) Smith shares down-to earth word pictures of what it means to enter into an honest, vulnerable journey of faith with other disciples.

Throughout this book, Smith shares a simple set of spiritual disciplines that served as a rule of life for him, his congregation, and others that came under his influence. The steps that he shares are easy to understand and engaging, and at the same time not so overly spiritual that it would be overwhelming for anyone seeking a deeper journey of faith.

This book would be a great to share in a small group, but even better for a leadership team to consider as they attempt to lead their congregation to grow in meaningful ways.