Book Review: Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan


Spiritual Rhythm
Mark Buchanan is a Canadian author and pastor. His book, Spiritual Rhythm, was written in the aftermath of the death of a close friend and ministry partner, which sent Buchanan and his wife into what he calls “a winter season.”

The book is broken into two sections: a section on seasons of the soul and a section on spiritual disciplines. Spiritual Rhythm is shot throughout with vivid imagery, fresh poetry and lush prose. The guy seriously uses the phrase "lusty singing" multiple times.

The core idea of the book – that spiritual life is full of seasons – resonated deeply with me. I appreciated Buchanan’s insight into the various seasons and his willingness to talk about how the seasons affect our spiritual practice.

Reflecting on the seasonal concept, I feel like I’m shifting from a fall season to a winter season. Work is harder and less rewarding. And I’m tired. Buchanan has helped me figure out what to do with myself during this season and has given me language to describe what’s happening in me, which has been helpful.

I also connected with an idea that Buchanan mentions several times by asking “Where else is constant growth an unequivocal sign of health? In human bodies, it’s a sign of obesity or cancer. Yet we’ve applied the standard of constant growth to our churches and to our spiritual lives.”

The idea that healthy growth in spirituality follows a rhythm echoes Lewis’ idea of “The Law of Undulation,” which I wrote about here: 3 Laws for Spiritual Growth. The idea is familiar, but I’ve never heard it applied to ministry. Ministry is supposed to have ups and downs? When I say it it sounds so obvious. But my tendency is to treat every down as an indicator that something is wrong or unhealthy. A more rhythmic perspective feels very freeing.

Spiritual Rhythm was a great book. Totally worth checking out.

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