Thursday, September 26, 2013

God in My Everything, by Ken Shigematsu

Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book for the purpose of review. My integrity is not for sale. Those who know me well are aware I would relish the chance to give a bad review in exchange for a free book. If I've failed to do so, it has nothing to do with the source of the material and only with the material itself.

Sorry for the long delay between reviews. After some ordering and shipping shennanigans, I ended up with two copies of God in My Everything, a book I wasn't sure I wanted in the first place.

I'm not a huge fan of those "five steps to an easy solution" books that are so popular among Christian publishers. There are a lot of them to choose from. I requested this one, hoping it would be something different.

The book starts out pretty dry and formulaic, discussing the place a Rule of Life has had in the life of the author, the concept's background, etc. The majority of the book explores twelve areas of life that make up the "trellis" of a Rule of Life - a series of practices given priority in the life of an individual to help maintain balance and wholeness.

The twelve ideas immediately rang of a neat bulleted list, but Shigematsu does well to speak of them in broad, overarching ways, creating pockets of understanding without resorting to specifics and details. I can picture a fight between author and editor the whole way through, but author seems to win out.

Shigematsu comes to ministry from a business background and there are some elements of formula that creep in from time to time - for example, he does an exquisite job of creating an open, vibrant picture of Sabbath and then insists Sabbath must be done one day a week. There is also a chapter on sexual expression, where he (rightly) explains that sexual expression is not always about sex, but spends most of the chapter talking about sexual ethics and very little time exploring ways in which sexuality can be expressed outside of physical intimacy.

Those critiques aside, the book is very good and should be a practical help to anyone who reads it seriously. I had been exposed to the idea of a Rule of Life during my seminary experience and had previously made use of some aspects of it for my own balance and sanity. I have since gotten away from those practices. I will be using this book as a jumping off point to regain some calm and stability moving forward and to help focus my life on Kingdom priorities.

I remain skeptical about those books which claim to make you a better Christian/spouse/parent/employee, and this book does not make that claim. However, God in My Everything, if taken seriously and prayerfully, could put you on the path to just those ends.

If the rest of my experience with this review project is as surprisingly beneficial as the first two, I will be quite satisfied.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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