It is almost summertime and already I have begun to dive into my annual ritual of working through a summer reading list. In just this past week, four of the books I’ve been most anxiously awaiting have all arrived: 1776 by David McCullough, Omnibus I edited by Ty Fischer and Douglas Wilson, The Sacred Way by Tony Jones, and The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana by Umberto Eco. One is history; one is literary criticism; one is practical theology; and one is frothy fiction—so together they make for a very balanced diet.
While I am really enjoying each of these new titles, I am particularly intrigued by The Sacred Way (Zondervan). Tony Jones is a very effective and infectious communicator. I greatly appreciated his two previous books published by NavPress—one on recovering ancient disciplines of prayer and another on the medieval lectio divina approach to daily Bible study. In this new book, he mines the rich history of the church through the ages for spiritual disciplines that have been largely—and lamentably—forgotten by contemporary Reformed and Evangelical Christians. After a couple of introductory chapters to consider the human longing for rich, deep, and authentic spirituality, Jones offers a series of fascinating historical and theological vignettes--exploring sixteen different disciplines that were once the common currency of believers: silence and solitude, meditation, pilgrimage, singing, the divine hours, among other. He then goes on to offer practical tips for implementing each of these means of grace into our daily lives, our families, and our churches.
Jones writes in a very breezy, accessible style (he served as a youth pastor until just this past year and it really shows). So, the often-stuffy realm of church history and practical spirituality really come to life in these chapters. Like the indispensable works by Gary Thomas (Sacred Pathways, Authentic Faith, Not the End but the Road, The Glorious Pursuit, and Seeking the Face of God) this new book should prove to be a great encouragement to enrich our sense of destiny by deepening our sense of legacy.