The right routines
Four recent books on Christian living
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Handle With Care by Lore Ferguson Wilbert: Wilbert asserts that our culture—including the church—increasingly avoids touch, even between close friends of the same or opposite sex, believing it must be infused with sexual meaning. But, she says, Jesus was unafraid to minister through touch and let people touch Him. This book asks, “What does it mean to be good at touch?” Wilbert, sexually abused as a child and raised in the purity culture as a homeschooler in a large family, understands the complexities. She avoids how-tos and tips, but rather asks readers to consider the redemptive power of healthy, pure, faithful, and ministering touch. To touch is to “risk brokenness, making mistakes, getting it wrong,” but she notes Christ came “in a body for my body” and redeems what is broken.
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer: A former pastor of a multisite megachurch, Comer knows what it’s like constantly to feel hurried. He argues that our consumer-driven culture pulls our attention away from connection with God, other people, and even our own souls. “Hurry kills relationships, joy, gratitude, and wisdom,” Comer writes. Symptoms of a hurried life include irritability, restlessness, escapist behaviors, workaholism, isolation, and letting go of spiritual disciplines. Yet Jesus famously said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Comer challenges readers to replace a hurried life with apprenticeship with Jesus—to be with Him and to do what He would do if He were you.
Is This It? by Rachel Jones: Jones writes that people in their 20s and 30s often experience a “quarter-life crisis.” They assumed they would have life figured out, but instead experience self-doubt, rootlessness, discontentment, and indecision. Rather than prodding millennials to grow up, Jones suggests they need to “grow more like Jesus” and gain maturity by persevering through trials. The book validates common young adult experiences in the workplace, church, dating, and marriage. It also explores emotions like loneliness, nostalgia, regret, and fear. With wit and honesty, Jones challenges readers to pay closer attention to Scripture and how Jesus lived. In singleness, for example, the “what-ifs and if-onlys” pale in comparison to the wedding feast waiting in heaven. She says Christians will not “feel like they’ve missed out or been left out.”
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport: Newport wisely challenges readers to consider the costliness of hyperconnectivity in the digital age. He notes that many joined Facebook to maintain connections across the country but now find it hard to maintain an uninterrupted conversation with a friend across the table. Companies spend billions of dollars to keep users glued to their screens, and the call to digital minimalism is about valuing autonomy over usefulness or efficiency. Newport recommends a 30-day “digital declutter,” eliminating all optional technology, and then reintroducing specific digital tools after pinpointing their value and conditions for usage. Christians will benefit from the book’s call to rediscover offline practices such as silence, solitude, leisure, long conversations, and digital sabbaths. Newport writes, “Humans are not wired to be constantly wired.”
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