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Friday, September 20, 2013

God in My Everything Blog Tour

TITLE: God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God
AUTHOR: Ken Shigematsu
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013, (256 pages).

This is a very comprehensive book on Christian living, covering many important aspects of the spiritual life. Through stories and keen observations of life in a city, Ken Shigematsu is able to weave in spiritual practices of the ancient world with the contemporary needs of the world. Having gone through personal struggles of frantic living, relationship challenges, as well as ministry work as a pastor, Shigematsu has put into words the sermons that he has given for his own congregation. I have heard him speak before, and so am able to mentally visualize his voice through the words in this book. It is very much a personal story by the author, given passionately and yet having a gentle demeanor about it all. I appreciate the very comprehensive aspect of his treatment of the rhythms of life, so reminiscent of Mark Buchanan's book on "Spiritual Rhythm" or Wayne Mueller's work on Sabbath. Let me offer three thoughts about the book.

First, I think it is an apt corrective for a world addicted to freedom of choice. The idea of rules and regulations can often rile the modern man so used to freedom and free speech. People are put off when it comes to anyone preachy or giving words of advice. Yet, disliking something does not necessarily mean we do not need that, just like a sick child disliking bitter medicine. If we do not drink it, we may become worse off. Thus, Shigematsu's teaching about "Bushido" is highly relevant for our modern Western society.

Second, structures are helpful. Despite the culture's dislike of structures and institutionalized religion, we cannot do away with structures. The words of Jesus with regards to Sabbath is appropriate here. Know that the Sabbath is made for men and not men for the Sabbath. Thus, structures are made for humans and not humans for structures. That is why the better way is to redeem institutions and structures, instead of throwing them out altogether.

Third, spirituality is more relational than what some people think. This contrasts with some versions of spiritualities that tend to be self-centered; focused on nothingness; or simply energy consumption. No. Christian spirituality is basically about living relationships. The spiritual practices mentioned in this book have a strong sense of communal living and community responsibility. Whether it is Sabbath time with God; coffee time with people; prayer for and with people; or accountability sessions with trusted friends; spirituality is less of something private and confidential, but more of something connecting and communicating.

There are lots of practical things we can do to cultivate the spirituality of God in our Everything. Ken's own set of rules allows him to take a Sabbath weekly, be disciplined at work, meet with people, and of course, date his wife. Brittany's rule enables her to adopt routines for the week, the month, and things in between. June's rule will appeal to young parents struggling to balance time between work and family.

Here is a quote from the book that is worth pondering. Maybe, it can tilt your decision whether to buy or borrow the book.
"I used to feel like I was always treading water and sometimes feared I'd drown under a tidal wave of work and responsibility. Thanks to my rule, I now enjoy the life-imparting gift of the Sabbath and a simpler, less cluttered life. I thus live from a place of greater rest and peace than I would otherwise. I don't lead an idyllic existence. I'm busy. In my line of work, I face crisis after crisis. But, rarely do I feel overwhelmed by life." (215)
Need I say more? I love this book!

Rating: 5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by Zondervan and Cross-Focused Reviews without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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