“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:28-29, MSG)
Feeling Stuck in Your Faith?
Have you ever thought that there must be more to Church than just showing up on Sunday morning, singing a few songs half-heartedly, then putting your spare change into the offering plate? Or perhaps, like many involved in ministry, you are burnt out from all of the things that have been slowly wearing you down over years of hard and unappreciated work? Whether you find yourself just beginning that journey or you are at the brink of losing your faith, Aaron Niequest may just give you the breath of fresh air you’ve been looking for. Writing “An impassioned call to move beyond spiritual observation into divine participation”, The Eternal Current is sure to give a jolt of life to your faith.
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?
I am a Millenial who has always had one foot in mainline churches and the other somewhere in the Evangelical world. Because of this, I’m constantly on the lookout for better ways of doing things AND ways to stay meaningfully rooted to God and church tradition. I’ve previously read such classics as Fosters’ Celebrations of Discipline and Bonhoeffer’s Life Together that have given me an idealistic hope of how people and churches can come together to celebrate their similarities AND differences; however, while these books have been good and helpful, they seem to be so outside of my own experience with the church.
Niequist’s book reads more like a memoir than a How-To book as he shares from his our experience of using these same resources in tangible ways. Written at a time when America seems to be more polarized than ever before, The Eternal Current asks readers to merely get into the water and trust that the current will bring you closer to God’s goal of redemptive work in the world. Beginning with an invitation to trust what God is already doing in your life, Niequest urges readers to see how God is working in others’ lives as well, so that we may learn from one another beyond denominational divisions.
You read that right! And how does he suggest we do this? Through a practiced-based faith anchored in ancient personal and communal spiritual practices.
Advocating for a holistic approach to faith, Niequist “offers a vision and set of concrete practices for a deeper, more vibrant, beatitude-like faith rooted in sacred memory and holy imagination.” These practices–such as prayer (the Daily Office & the Examen), engagement with Scripture (Lectio Divina), weekly Eucharist, etc.–aren’t new ideas! They have been used throughout church history in order for individuals and communities to grow closer to God by creating a framework that will help better form us into the image of Christ. Once we start applying these practices to our lives, we not only see the difference it can make in us as individuals, but we begin to see how having a practiced-based family & community is exactly how God intends for us to be–as the church–reminding readers how much we truly need each other to learn and grow.
Once we start applying these practices to our lives, we not only see the difference it can make in us as individuals, but we begin to see how having a practiced-based family & community is exactly how God intends for us to be–as the church–reminding readers how much we truly need each other to learn and grow.
To Sum Up
Niequest begins walking through the what and why of a practiced-based (personal) faith. This leads into the how and when that should translate into a practiced-based (community) gathering. Ending with a practiced-based mission for the sake of the world, The Eternal Current ultimately helps us to see who and where God has called us to be as the body of Christ. So, if you’re looking for a book to renew your outlook on faith, life, and the church (and give you some tangible ways to your faith practice-based), dive into this incredibly quick read and ask yourself the question:
“What are the practices–ancient and new–that form us into Christlikeness for the sake of the world?”