Beyond Just Indignation

It is an election year and I’m angry. You are too. The candidate who will win this election is the one whose supporters are most angry at either Trumpty Dumpty or Crooked Hillary. We are not all angry at the same things or for the same reasons, but we are mad. We may be angry because:

  • 2016-07-15-1468607338-43291-donaldtrumpangryTrump’s sexual-assault bragging and his cavalier dismissal of it as mere “locker-room-talk.”
  • The party of “family values” has chosen a serial adulterer, chauvinist, casino and strip-club owner as their champion.
  • Hillary’s 30,000 emails and the security risk they posed and the failure of the justice department to prosecute her.
  •  Those “illegal immigrants” that are over running our country and taking American jobs.
  • “Chai Nah.”
  • The demonizing of immigrant communities and xenophobia and failure to care for widows, orphans and  the alien.
  • The way rural Americans are excluded from political discourse.
  • The Republicans’ continuing failure to  take climate change seriously.
  • The Democrats’ failure to champion the unborn and  their support of late-term abortions.
  • Prolifers who don’t care about criminal justice reform, refugees and other vulnerable members of society.
  • Hillary Clinton is a two-faced politician with a public and private persona and she lies.
  • Trump’s near inability to tell the truth.
  • Hillary cheating to get the Democrat nod and manipulating the system and your vote.
  • hillary-angryThe Russians are trying to rig the election.
  • Security lapses  which led up to the Benghazi attacks while HRC was Secretary of State.
  • Racial bias in policing African American communities continues and has led to unjust killing of African Americans
  • Black Live Matters activists have the audacity to declare that black lives matter.
  • Obama doesn’t call a press conference when a police officer gets shot.
  • The way politicians pander to special interest.
  • The Main Stream Media’s bias strains credulity.
  • Common Core math is so hard right now.

This is not an exhaustive list. Maybe you are angry about something else, but if you aren’t angry you aren’t paying attention. Anger can be a great motivator. When we are angry, for good reasons, our anger can become a force of good, motivating us to action.

So anger itself isn’t the problem, as long as it isn’t motivated out by self-interest. Anger is the appropriate response to injustice. There are times you should be angry! When we see those who are suffering, and fail to “get angry,” we are complicit in systems of injustice (Sarah Sumner’s Angry Like Jesus, Fortress 2015, makes this point. See chapter 9). If we repress anger, it comes out in unhealthy ways.

Be angry, but know we all have blindspots. We side with the left or right and we all ignore inconvenient injustices. We relativize abortion or excuse the poor treatment of women. We claim to be strong on crime but ignore the cries of the wrongfully accused and the unjustly punished. We rage against terror but advocate war.  We champion institutions (Law & Order!) but excuse where systems grind people up. We see the speck in our neighbor’s eye and ignore the log in our own. Be angry but don’t be blind!

And anger is dangerous to our souls. Bitterness can blight the whole tree and we should take care what grows in us. So my suggestion this election cycle  is don’t let the daily news cycle poison you. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said this:

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48, emphasis mine).

Jesus declares enemy love is a defining characteristic of what it means to be children of our Father in heaven! When our anger leads to hate and bitterness, we lose. When anger at injustice drives us to love and pray for our enemies we are enlivened by the Spirit and set free to live towards the Kingdom coming. So does Hillary make you angry? Have you prayed for her? How about the Donald? Have you prayed for him? How do you demonstrate your love to those whose view of the world you find abhorrent?  I confess enemy love doesn’t characterize my life enough. It is easier to write others off and dismiss them. But when God’s anger burned against humanity, his response was to send Jesus to reconcile us to himself. Then he gave us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18-21).

Does this mean we capitulate and stop being angry at injustice? Not at all. It means we rage, rant, act, call people to task and pray when people suffer because of the careless or willful actions of others. This doesn’t mean we excuse abuse, assault, lying, bulling, negligence or dehumanizing rhetoric. Real reconciliation will never gloss over injustice, but it will choose enemy love despite it. It means we call them to task while we pray for God’s grace to flood their soul.

Anger is part of what it means to be human. It is often the appropriate response. “Be angry but do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). In contrast, enemy love is what it means to be a child of God. Don’t settle for just indignation if you serve the one who is reconciling all things to Himself.

For the Beauty of the Earth: a music review

Gabriel V is a brass ensemble made up of women and men, ” unified in their commitments to the monastic life” (linear notes, 4). Often accompanying Gloriæ Dei Cantores, the choir of the Church of the Transfiguration (the Community of Jesus) in Orleans, MA, their newest recording For the Beauty of the Earth exhibits the beauty of God’s creation and redemption as only the combination of brass, organ and percussion can. Organist Sharonrose Pfieffer, Church of the Transfiguration organist, is the organist for these recordings.

for-the-beauty-of-the-earthHere is a look at the tracks:

  • Luminosity -an aural meditation on the vastness and splendor of space (composed by Anthony DiLorenzo)
  • Earthscape -Canadian Composer David Marlatt’s work inspired by the view of earth from space.
  • Windscape – Another Marlatt piece depicting the energy, rhythm and unpredictability of the Wind (this one is one of my favorites)
  • Fantasy on “O Sons and Daughters” – Composer Walter Pelz’s score for organ, brass and tympani exclaming the redemption of creation, “O Sons and daughters of the King, whom heavenly hosts in glory sing, today the grave has lost its sting” (linear notes,7-8).
  • Salvum fac populum tuum (trans. Save Your People) – Charles-Marie Widor’s  1917 composition balances the gravity and horror of war with the certainty that good conquers evil (8)
  • Holy, Holy, Holy – John Cunrow’s arrangement of a well loved hymn
  • Prelude on a Festive Hymn– Written by Donald Coakley, and arranged by David Marlatt, this piece is based on a 1995 hymn tune originally commissioned by St William’s Roman Catholic Church in Philidelphia
  • Meditation: The Light of the World – New Zealand Composer Sir Dean Goffin’s hymn based work combining two hymns reflecting on Christ standing at the door of a believer’s heart (Rev. 3:20).
  • Benediction—God Be With You – William Gordon’s arrangement of Ralph Vaugh William’s hymn tune Randolph proclaiming God’s blessing until we meet again.
  • Toccata from “Fifth Sympathy” – Windor’s organist showpiece (as the son of an organist I grew up with this piece). This arrangement, by Egene Ellsworth double voices the organ score with trumpets, trombones and tuba.
  • Tone Poem—A Psalm of Praise (Psalm 100) – Based on the hymn Praise My Soul King of Heaven, phrases and snippets of the tune are ‘playfully traded’ before a triumphal finally which culminates the hymn tune stated in its entirety.
  • Prelude on a Hymn of Praise – The recording is closed with a prelude. Curnow’s arrangement of  Conrad Kocher’s hymn For the Beauty of the Earth (the title piece).

This is an exceptional recording. Each piece selected has a majestic quality and carries the listener toward doxology. Gerard Manley Hopkins happy phrase, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God” reflects this collection well. The arrangements are powerful but ultimately joyful. I give this recording four stars.

Note: I was provided with a copy of the CD by Paraclete Recordings in exchange for my honest review. I was not obligated to give a positive review

Life: a short update

After a month-and-a-half hiatus, I’m back to blogging. My summer ended with a cross-country-move. By the time Matthew ravaged Florida’s Eastern shore, the Matichuks had long left Florida’s West Coast to be decidedly nearer to the actual West Coast. We picked Medford, Oregon almost at random (though I had a good friend in nearby Ashland, and my wife has family a couple hours away).

We didn’t leave Florida with a job waiting or a plan. If you know my story, you know I pastored a church in Florida and it didn’t work out. We needed a place to start fresh. It was hard living in the same community I used to pastor in. But uprooting is hard, and I long for the deep relationships that only come with time and intention.

Currently I am working as a draftsperson (a job I did a dozen years ago, but never felt good at). I am not done with vocational ministry yet but right now I am focused on exploring this place, and loving my neighbors.

The denomination I served with (the Evangelical Covenant), does not have a church nearby. We’ve been attending a neighborhood Methodist church since we got here. Again, I feel uprooted, but perhaps I felt that for awhile.


The Place God Lives: a book review

The significance of temple and tabernacle cannot be understated. The theme runs right through the biblical story. It describes the place(s) where God dwells with his people. In The Temple and the Tabernacle: a Study of God’s Dwelling places from Genesis to Revelation, J. Daniel Hays traces the theme of God’s presence with His people from Creation (‘God’s garden temple’) to the New Heaven and New Earth of Revelation 21-22 (where God dwells with his people on earth as it is in heaven).

9780801016202Hays walks us through this material chronologically (though he saves Ezekiel’s prophetic temple vision in Ezekiel 40-48 until his discussion of the eschatology in his ‘New Testament’ chapter). Hays notes God’s presence with (or absence from) His people throughout the biblical narrative. The Garden of Eden in Genesis 1-2 describes a ‘garden Temple’ where God dwells with his people. When Adam and Eve’s sin cause them to be evicted from the garden, they fell cut off from God.

Between humanity’s eviction  from the garden and the building of the tabernacle, God does sometimes meet with his people and promise to dwell with them (i.e. his Covenant with Abraham, meeting Moses at the burning bush and Israel at Sinai); however the tabernacle becomes a portable dwelling for God’s presence, so that God would be with his people all along the wilderness way. Hays describes the physical features of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant that dominate the latter half of  Exodus. He describes the architecture, design and significance of each item or tabernacle feature. The Israelite’s gave generously and willfully to construct the tabernacle and when it was finished, God’s presence fills the tabernacle(59). 

Hays chapter on Solomon’s temple describes a different dynamic entirely. He eschews a shallow surface reading of the Solomon story that treats him as a mostly good king who loses his way toward the end of his life. There are troubling aspects of Solomon’s life all along and Hays points out where this is evident in the construction of the Temple.

This is  evident when reading the construction of Solomon’s temple against the backdrop of the construction of the tabernacle as described in Exodus. Exodus had described the role of God in the construction of the tabernacle (68). Conversely, 1 Kings emphasizes the directives of Solomon and his craftsmen from Tyre rather than God’s role (73). In constructing the tabernacle, the Israelites gave freely and participated willingly in the construction; but Solomon conscripts 30,000 Israelites into slavery, plus 150,000 other workers whose ethnicity is not specified (77-78).  In the Exodus, much is made of God’s selection and Spirit’s infilling of Bezalel son of Uri, and the appointment of Oholiab son of Ahisamak and other skilled workers (79-80); yet Solomon appoints a foreigner, Huram of Tyre, based on his reputation (constructing other temples?)(81). These differences are startling. Furthermore, Hays points out other differences between Solomon and his fore-bearers which show his drift (use of ‘the cedars of Lebanon’ as building material, reference to Canaanite months, possible Canaanite influence in the depiction of the temple Cherubim, etc). God’s presence fills the temple, but God’s endorsement of Solomon is merely conditional and tentative (101).

Solomon’s temple is the last structure that God’s glory fills. The rest of the book of Kings tells the story of this temple’s downfall and destruction. Ezekiel describes the departure of God’s presence from the temple (Ezekiel 8-11) before the Babylonian destruction. Ezra and Haggai describes the rebuilding of the temple, but God does not take up residence there (130-31).  Nor does God indwell Herod’s temple. The renewal of God’s presence with his people comes with Jesus who ‘tabernacles with his people’ (John 1:14) and ultimately the eschatological vision of Revelation’s closing chapters.Hays conclusion points us towards the implication of his study on the Temple/tabernacle for our worship and our focus on God’s indwelling presence.

Hays has done a wonderful job laying out the history of temple and tabernacle and their theological significance. With glossy pages, charts, photographs and diagrams, this book is beautiful as well as informative. It is nice that a book  about the temple and tabernacle has a pleasing aesthetic (though a hardcover might have been nice).

Hays offers a d literary sensitive reading of the  tabernacle/temple narratives and clearly  keeps abreast of scholarly discussions; however he does occasionally reference other interpretations (scholarly or otherwise) opaquely. For example,  he acknowledges that the ancient tabernacle points forward to Christ but faults “various writers and speakers” who “simply let their imaginations run free and look for any kind of similarity between even the smallest details of the tabernacle and Christ”(61). He gives  examples of some writers pointing to a fanciful and spiritual significance of the tabernacle tent pegs (61-62), but he leaves us guessing as to which writers or speakers interpretation he is referencing. This book is not without footnotes, but here is one place where they are sorely lacking.

Of course not every reader will want to track down these arguments (I may be odd that way). Hays has done the church a tremendous service in helping us recapture the significance of temple and tabernacle: God’s dwelling place with his people. I give this book an enthusiastic four stars.

Note: I received this book from Baker Books in exchange for my honest review.




10 Reasons Why You Should Read “Embrace”by Leroy Barber

This is not an unbiased review. Leroy Barber is a friend and mentor. I have come to trust his insights on mission, justice and racial reconciliation. When I heard Leroy was writing Embrace: God’s Radical Shalom for a Divided World, I knew I would like it. And I do! If you want an unbiased review (because you think there is such a thing) look elsewhere. In lieu of that, here are 10 reasons why you should read Embrace:

978083084471510. Leroy knows what he is talking aboutEmbrace shares Leroy’s own experience as a pastor, urban minister, and community developer. The things this book exhorts us to— a lifestyle reconciliation, a heart for justice, and a commitment to love the other—are things Leroy tries to live out every day. He knows what he speaks of and he speaks with integrity.

9. Leroy is gracious. I don’t love others the way I ought to as a follower of Jesus. There are people, left to my own devices, I would avoid. I don’t measure up to my best ideals. Listening to Leroy, I don’t feel judged, but invited to live a better life—a riskier, sacrificial life, with a lot of pain and hardship, but better. This call is full of grace and compelling!

8. This is an important book because some of us live in Babylon. Leroy opens up about his own experience of following God’s call from Philadelphia to the South (Atlanta) and later Oregon. These new cities were Babylon to him: a place of un-belonging and where he experienced abject racism. I know the New Monastics talk about ‘relocating to the abandoned places of Empire.” Leroy talks about inhabiting  an antagonistic empire and seeking God’s shalom for the city we’re in. For those of us in Babylon, life is difficult but we are still called to embrace the place we’re in.

7. Because left to our own devices, we all have people we’d avoid. There are lots of things which keep people apart: race, religion, socio-economic status, etc.  Leroy’s encouragement to us is to learn to love the other: to not just retreat to our ‘in group,’ but to seek out relationships with people different than us. This isn’t just so we can help them and feel good about how amazingly loving and bighearted  people we are. As we seek out the people who are different from us (or difficult for us), and build relationships with them, we are enriched and our perspectives of the world are enlarged. Our own prejudices and privileges are challenged by learning to love well in relationship.

6. Diversity is a mark of God’s radical shalom and we all need to be more diverse than we are. Generally, we all like the idea of multiculturalism until it gets sticky. White churches welcome minorities but expect them to conform to their dominant church culture. We have similar expectations when we include different cultural groups, classes, and generations. We love the ones we can assimilate and ignore the rest. Leroy invites us to to a deeper communion where we honor the mutual image bearing of those who are different from us:

Our greatest danger as a church and believers is that we don’t actually see all people as made in the image of God. This is an immoral practice and it has ruined how people view Christians in the world. That Sunday mornings are segregated is no big secret; we’ve heard it over and over. For the most part our actions don’t seem to be changing. Worship and its lack of diversity is a joke. What kind of God are we representing? I don’t think we really care that we are segregated. We can quote Scripture of love and grace and yet be as divided as we are—this is the influence of Babylon on the people of God, not the people of God influencing Babylon (90).

5. God’s call for Justice begins where we are but then calls us outward.  Leroy will tell you that his cleaning up the basketball court in South Atlanta was so his own kids could play. But the whole neighborhood benefited. Caring for his own kids ‘became the natural way of justice for all kids.’ (101).  Leroy illustrates well how small acts of justice begin close to home, but because we are called to follow the God of justice, we are continually called to name injustice wherever we find it and stand with the oppressed. Sometimes ‘Justice’ seems like too big of a category. I like Leroy’s exhortation. Justice begins where you are and then wherever God takes you.

4. Because forgiveness and selfless love is the call. Injustice happens. People get hurt and killed. Leroy encourages us to follow the way of Jesus in loving our enemies. He talks about Dylann Roof being forgiven by the family of the fallen members of Charleston’s Emanuel AME church and our call to embody this sort of selfless love (109-110). Leroy doesn’t pretend this an easy commandment especially for those who have experienced profound trauma. I respect that Leroy never makes light of the pain and trauma which some people have faced (including himself), but still exhorts us to forgive as we’ve been forgiven.

3. Because you shouldn’t be happy with the status quo. Prejudice remains a major problem. Racism is real. The marginalized suffer. The refugee is rejected and regarded with suspicion. Foreigners, immigrants and resident aliens are maltreated and abused by the system. Our world is divided and divisive. We need more of God’s shalom!

2. Because Leroy is a great storyteller. He tells the story of his own journey into racial reconciliation: relationships forged, hurtful conversations and difficult times. He tells of learning to love the other. And he shares the story of friends and fellow justice advocates as well. Leroy weaves this in with the narrative of Scripture. Telling God’s story he explores the story of Patriarchs and prophets and Jesus. If there is anything that makes this book compelling, it’s the stories.

1. Because  yes, Black Lives Matter. Leroy spends his last chapter addressing myths and misconceptions many people have about the Black Lives Matter movement. This is a fitting end to this book because all along Leroy is calling us to stand against injustice, care for the vulnerable and love the other. There is systemic injustice which the Black Lives Matter movement has called our attention to (i.e. unjust police shootings, mass incarceration and lack of legal representation of Black men, etc).  Still many (white) evangelicals view the movement with suspicion. Leroy invites us to lay aside privilege and Embrace the Other as we seek to love and listen well.

Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for my totally biased review. five stars: ★★★★★

Reading Well for the Sake of Others: a ★★★★★ book review

 C. Christopher Smith is the editor of The Englewood Review of Booksan online and print journal  which  showcasess valuable resources for the people of God. Another site Smith, curates is Thrifty Christian Reader, a website which catalogs quality sale books—mostly Kindle, mostly Christian—which explore culture, theology, sociology, justice, ecology, poetry and literature. His own books also promote the kind of thoughtful Christian engagement he highlights online. Notably, Slow Church (IVP, 2014), which he co-authored with John Pattison, is a prophetic challenge to the way churches are sometimes co-opted by the dominant cult of speed and efficiency. Smith and Pattison point us instead to honor the terroir of place, cultivate community, and ways for the church to be a faithful presence and witness to God’s in-breaking Kingdom.

44491For a church to transform a community it is imperative we learn to read well. Earlier generations of Christians were sometimes called ‘the people of the Book.’ A good part of Smith’s influence has been about helping us to, again, be the people of the Book. In Reading for the Common Good: How Books Can Help Churches and Neighborhoods FlourishSmith points out the crucial place reading (in community) has for shaping our identity and practice of God’s people.

In his introduction, Smith helps us to conceive of church as a ‘learning organization,’ with learning and action as central components of our identity. We can have a significant impact on our communities as we understand our context and discern effective ways to act and then act(16). Learning and acting form a cycle which helps us live out the compassionate way of Jesus for our neighborhoods and communities (18-20). But this sort of reading is a communal, rather than individual activity.

Smith’s first couple of chapters orient us to the practice of reading. Chapter one points us away from our modern, technologically infused reading (where we read a lot but not deeply) towards ‘Slow Reading.’ The ancient practice of lectio divina and preaching which attends to the words of Scripture provides the church with counter-cultural habits of mind. Chapter two illustrates how reading and conversation help shape the social imagination. Smith observes:

The practices of reading and conversation are vital for the process of transforming our social imagination. Part of human experience is imaging how the world should function. The question is what stories are feeding and shaping the imagination? Reading renews and energizes our social imagination. For our churches, reading and embodying Scripture is the foremost source of renewal, but renewal comes from reading reflecting on and discussing a broad range of works in the life and teaching of Jesus (51-52).

The next six chapters explore the way reading shapes our social imagination and paves the way for communities to flourish. Chapter three explores how reading the Bible in communion with other believers helps shape us into “the image of Christ, the Word incarnate” (55). While the Bible remains central, reading other books communally (and in a cruciform way!) is also beneficial for making sense of the world and our place in it (59-61). Chapter four discusses the role of reading in helping communities and individuals understand their vocation. Chapters five and six discuss how churches can read with their neighbors and neighborhoods. Churches can be (or support) libraries which preserve the shared memory of place and provide resources for the community. Churches can also become centers of education which promote literacy and understanding. The telos of this is a greater civic literacy and engagement in the community. Our reading also promotes a better understanding of our neighborhood place in the economic, environmental, educational and civic realms (103-107). Chapter seven discusses how reading connects us to our world, creation and other churches and chapter eight discusses how reading can support our faithful engagement in the realms of politics and economics.

Smith’s final chapter discusses ways to help congregations become reading congregations, with examples from Englewood Christian Church (the faith community that Smith is a part of). The book closes with two reading lists: Recommended Reading for Going Deeper and Englewood Christian Church Reading List. 

Smith is an avid reader and this is a book about how reading well (in community) can help churches and neighborhoods flourish. So this book will make you want to read other books. Lots of them. Smith promotes helpful books throughout and he himself has been shaped by his reading of such luminaries as: Charles Taylor, Alisdair MacIntyre, Wendell Berry, Peter Senge, Marva Dawn, Gerhard Lohfink, Mary Oliver, and more. I think it is impossible to read through this book without discovering new literary treasures (or at least places to dig). My wish list grew exponentially from reading this.

More significantly, this book touches a hunger I have for thoughtful engagement. I have been a part of churches which felt like the theological equivalent of a ‘food desert.’ Sometimes the  reading theology (or biology, philosophy, or whatever) is criticized for being disconnected from ‘real life.’ Smith rejects the binary between academia and activism, thinking well and living well. His chapter on the social imaginary (with a generous nod to Charles Taylor) should be required reading for pastors and leaders. I give this five stars and highly recommend it. ★★★★★

Note: I received a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.


God Wants to Talk to You: a ★★★★★ book review.

His sheep know his voice. John 10:4 tells us that; yet many of us struggle to discern God’s voice in the midst of daily life. Samuel Williamson, founding director of Beliefs of the Heart, has written a helpful guide to hearing God’s voice everywhere.Hearing God in Conversation: How to Recognize His Voice Everywhere helps us cultivate our curiosity and attention to the ways in which God speaks to us.
Williamson begins with a story of hearing God’s voice when he was just a 9780825444241ten-year-old, newly minted atheist. When God didn’t strike down his girlfriend Diane for cussing, Williamson lost  his faith. So he started his own experiment with profanity and living like God wasn’t there. God simply said, “Sam, I’m real, and you don’t understand” (24). Williamson was brought back to faith.  While this experience is unique to him, Williamson believes we all have a capacity to hear God’s voice. He relates the various ways people hear God. In his second chapter Williamson argues that the point of God speaking is less about directions from on high (though He is still God) and more about conversation. God wants to connect and commune with us. Williamson uses the analogy of learning sailing from his dad and the casual conversations that would spring up organically as a result (35-36).

But Williamson is also an evangelical. He gives pride of place to the Bible. Williamson wants us to read our Bibles, but not as a maintenance manual or a rule book but as an opportunity to encounter the living God. We read to commune with the living God. So he offers scriptural meditation (focusing on the one book where God clearly spoke) as a way to train ourselves to hear God’s voice, “The best way to  become familar with God’s voice is to meditate on his Word, just as the best way to spot a counterfeit is to spend lots of time with the real thing” (61).

Along the way Williamson has lots of practical advice for listening prayer: how to recognize God, how to hear God’s voice for others,  hearing God’s voice in the silence, and detours of life, the place of emotions, etc. Williamson opens up about his own journey of God. He shares childhood stories of learning to hear God’s voice,  awkward words that God gave him for others (or about others),  and his process of discerning God’s call to leave a stable career with a software company to pursue full time ministry. He suggests brainstorming with God (journaling) and listening to ‘God’s questions’ in the Bible as ways to press into a deeper relationship with God.

What distinguishes Williamson’s book from some treatments of listening prayer is how down-to-earth he is. He shares stories and anecdotes with good humor (occasionally this is a bit distracting).  Two appendixes address the arguments against listening prayer by some conservative evangelicals and those ‘questionable and excessive practices.’ There are other good books on this theme (notably, Joyce Huggett’s Listening to God and Brad Jersak’s Can You Hear Me?, Dallas Willard’s Hearing God). Williamson own influences in writing include Oswald Chambers, C.S. Lewis, Dallas Willard and Tim Keller (22). He makes a strong and helpful contribution to the topic of hearing God. The best thing I can say about a book on prayer is that it makes me want to pray. This book certainly makes want to do that.

Five stars. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Note: I received this book from Kregel Publications in exchange for my honest review