Learning to Speak God from Scratch – a Book Blog

A few things caught my attention right from the start when this book was published in late summer, 2018. First, the book was written by former Religion News Service journalist Jonathan Merritt, and I’ve been a fan for a few years. He is a freelance writer now, focusing his blog on Faith & Culture, while contributing to larger publications like The Atlantic and other news outlets.  I am still a fan.

Next, the book was published the same summer as another of my favorites, “Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again,” by Rachel Held Evans. There was plenty of cross talk and banter between the two authors that summer. So of course, in fairness, I read both books.

And finally, to be honest, I like words.  Ask anyone. I use words all the time. Sometimes more than I should, whether speaking or writing. Thus, I had reason to believe that I might enjoy this book about words. And these were sacred words about God, which made me even more curious.

But I was not prepared to see Merritt as a linguaphile. I suppose it makes sense; he is genuinely intrigued with how people use and interpret words, especially sacred words. Much of the early chapters provide information and research about which sacred words make people uncomfortable, and why that is important. As he mentions, “One might expect meaty theological terms like ‘atonement’ or ‘sanctification’ to fade over time.” But everyday words, words we use in worship, words we sing as lyrics, words as simple as ‘wisdom,’ ‘faith,’ or ‘sacrifice,’ use of those words can’t be fading, right? Yes, their use has decreased about 74% in the last 100 years. Use of words like ‘modesty,’ ‘kindness,’ and ‘thankfulness’ have declined by about 50% each over the same period. What gives?

Merritt posits that there is a yearning among us to recapture this spiritual vocabulary, and the second half of the book focuses on how the use of that vocabulary has changed over time. Why do certain sacred words make us uncomfortable? Perhaps we are uncomfortable because we were raised with one meaning of the word and our current faith journey leads us to a different connotation. Merritt helps us understand those shifts, which can be especially helpful for individuals who are reconstructing their faith.

Merritt feels so strongly about our desire and need to include these spiritual words in our everyday discussions that he leaves us with a ‘How to Guide for Seekers and Speakers.’ At Arapaho UMC, we often use this guide to learn by doing, which Merritt says is the best way to re-learn how to speak God.  Based on their experiences, we may create some small groups to learn more about speaking God from scratch.

Read the book. Find out why Merritt is so passionate about ‘speaking God.’ As he shares, “When we lose our spiritual vocabulary, we lose much more than words. We lose the power of speaking grace, forgiveness, love, and justice over others.” What a wonderful power to cultivate in this mixed up world of ours.

Here We Are

God of Creation,

We watch as the beauty of Your earth 
is devastated and ravaged 
by fire 
and earthquakes
and hurricanes.

We watch in horror as the flames
skip from one town to another,

California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington.

Has less than a year passed
Since our siblings in Australia 
felt the same fears?

The storms raged 
in Iowa, Louisiana, and South Korea.
Have we learned how to help?

Differences in opinion don't mean much now.

People evacuate,
then they wait.

How do we help, from so far away?
Do our prayers reach them?
Are they heard at all?

God, send your grace
to those who are recovering 
to those who are just now seeing
to those who are fleeing
from the rains
from the winds
from the fires.

God, send your Spirit 
to nudge those who will
to pray
to offer hope
to help
to share our resources
and our love
to help rebuild this creation of Yours.

Reseed the forests,
recreate the communities.
Reconcile relationships.
Recondition us all to seek 
    the common good. 
Here we are, Lord. Send us.


The Greatest Privilege

At Arapaho UMC in Richardson, Texas, we are in the middle of a sermon series titled, “Unmasked.” We are acknowledging various attitudes, feelings, and actions that need to be unmasked in our world right now. This past Sunday’s sermon was about Unmasking Justice, listen to Pastor Scott share about it if you’d like.


I was struck by his first point about problems we may encounter when we unmask justice. Here’s what he says:

“The greatest privilege is the ability to “move on” from an exposed injustice.
The call of Jesus is to take a sustained look at injustice in a culture of sound bites.”

What’s he saying here? Perhaps it’s this:

Speaking out, then going back to the routine in our lives, isn’t fully unmasking justice. Why? Because unmasking justice is a long term commitment. It’s not just a “re-tweet” or “share” on social media. Injustice is something we will encounter over and over, time and again, in our lives and beyond. It’s not a one time thing.

I spoke about this recently in response to George Floyd’s death, and the response from those who were calling out the injustice of the incident. I was asked to share a short devotional as part of a series of devotionals on lamenting. I chose to reflect on the biblical story of Ruth in that devotional, which you can hear on Facebook, or you can read on here:

The story of Ruth is not just about Ruth. The story begins with a famine that forced a man and his wife, Naomi, out of Judah and into Moab (current Jordan). So they were in a strange land. Over time, they had 2 sons, and the sons married women named Orpah and Ruth (who would be Moabites, because that’s where they are living now). In a series of tragedies, Naomi’s husband dies first, then her two sons die. The women are left without husbands, which is not a good place to be.

So Naomi decides to leave the land of Moab and return to Judah. Both of her daughters-in-law are initially willing to join her, but Naomi encourages them to stay, so that they would have a better chance at finding husbands. (Yep. She said it. I’ll talk about that at a later date, this ‘women only have value if they are married’ challenge.) Naomi didn’t just say it once, she said it a few times. “Go back,” she says, “May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.” (And again, let’s just acknowledge that this statement is at best, problematic, when expressing that all are children of God in their own right, not dependent on another human being. We are called to be in community, and we need each other, to be sure. But a woman’s value is not based on her marital status.)

Orpah takes Naomi’s advice, kisses her goodbye, and returns home. Ruth, on the other hand, is in this for the long haul. Here’s what she says to Naomi (1:16b-17b, NIV):

“Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.”

Ruth and Naomi

Naomi had become Ruth’s family. They had grown to love each other as mother and daughter. They had experienced grief together. Ruth had a choice. She could stay where she was comfortable, return home, and likely marry someone. Or she could stand by Naomi, journey to an unfamiliar place, and continue to be in relationship with her, until death.

Ruth is clear in her actions. And my brothers, sisters, and siblings, we should be, too.

I’m speaking mostly to my white siblings here: are we unmasking justice when George Floyd is killed, then retreating to the comfort of our own homes? What do we do, then, when Jacob Blake is shot and killed? Are we not also family? We, too, have a choice. We can stay where we are comfortable, return home, and wait for the next incident of injustice. Or we can stand by our siblings, in perhaps an uncomfortable place, and continue our journey together. Just like Ruth and Naomi.

What’s our action that says, “Your people will be my people, and your God my God?”

I submit that our action to unmask justice comes from our hearts and from a faith that truly believes that every person is a cherished child of God.


It’s in gathering together, sharing a meal, and learning more about each other. It’s in the action of building community – a Beloved Community in which we can all walk without fear of each other and in which we can grow in love. It’s a community that becomes family.

Because when we build family, it’s a whole lot harder to return to our comforts when our brothers, sisters, and siblings are dying in the streets. When we build a family, privilege is no longer being comfortable. The greatest privilege is in the honor to stand with each other, until the Beloved Community is complete.


The Bike Ride

I’ve begun riding my bike again.


What started out as a “let’s try it” challenge has become a bit of a necessity. We are down to one automobile at Sweeneys on the Creek, and with the church located a little more than a mile away, I’ve taken to biking there for work. It’s been nice to expand the riding to cover other short errands: grocery shopping, short deliveries. I even biked to a meeting a few miles away in a more corporate environment.

Yesterday was Friday, which is a typical self-care day for pastors. Many refer to it as their Sabbath day, and I try to do that as well.  In the biblical context, Sabbath is derived from the Hebrew shabbath, or “day of rest.” What’s important, at least to me, in the Sabbath experience, is that the self-care includes intentional time with God. In that way, I can be a better pastor, wife, mother, daughter and friend for those who need me.


So I’ve begun riding my bike again.

And yesterday, I realized that Friday rides can be different than other days of the week.

Most days of the week, I ride the bike as a means of transportation to arrive at a destination. So I’m on a bit of a timetable. Yesterday, I had a package to mail, so I hopped on the bike and pedaled to the Post Office. The US Post Office isn’t far from the house, and the package wasn’t heavy, so I arrived there about 15 minutes into the ride. After dropping the bulky envelope in the mailbox, I maneuvered the bike to ride back home, but a quiet nudge stopped me.

In my experience, that nudge is called the Holy Spirit. Today, the Spirit asked, “What’s your hurry? It’s Friday, your Sabbath.” I looked around, and I saw many opportunities to expand my riding experience. So I pedaled on, away from the road that led to our house.

I saw young children playing outside, parents nearby, encouraging them, while watching for safety. I saw beautifully landscaped yards lined with colorful flowers, college flags flapping in the breeze with pride, and creative “WELCOME” signs that invited neighbors to sit by the fire pit on what will certainly be cooler nights soon. As I rode through the areas, I offered a quiet, “Thank you, God.”


I rode past familiar street signs – turned onto Chadwick Drive, remembering friends who have moved to McKinney. I prayed, “Thanks for the memories, and don’t be a stranger, kids.” I gave a quick nod as I passed Teakwood Drive, thinking of the fellow co-worker who was raised on that street by a loving mother, father, and brothers.


I slowed down and turned onto Magnolia Drive, thinking of two families. The first has moved within a stones throw of our house, and I see them often around the neighborhood. The other moved to be closer to family, after the husband and father lost his battle with cancer. I mouthed a speechless, “God be with you,” and rode away.

I stopped on the bridge and listened to what little water was moving in the creek, thinking of the farmers and ranchers who rely on that water to grow crops. Thinking what a difficult time they must have when the rain doesn’t arrive. I spent a moment in gratitude for all they do, to keep us fed, then I headed home. I had been on my ride for about an hour.


What a gift. What a precious gift, to have time to intentionally thank God for the beauty in our world. As I pulled into our driveway, I realized that my Sabbath time had been more intentional on this day. I listened to the little voice saying, “Don’t be in such a hurry. Not every bike ride has a destination as the purpose.” And that led me to open my eyes to all of the community around us, that which I can miss if I’m only riding to a destination.

How much we miss when we pedal to one point, then return by the same route. I’m grateful for the lesson on this, my day of rest.

So I’ll be riding my bike more often. Stop me for a chat if you have time.

Holy Envy – reflections on the book

Holy Envy

Barbara Brown Taylor refers to herself as a writer, speaker, and spiritual contrarian. She’s also an ordained Episcopalian priest whose daily vocation is professor of Religious Studies at Piedmont College in North Carolina.

In Holy Envy, Taylor’s fourteenth book, we are treated to another memoir of a sliver of Taylor’s life. The question she answers for herself in this one:

How does one teach mostly Christian conservative undergraduate students a required “Religious 101” curriculum? Taylor writes about her life in the classroom – and in synagogues, temples, and sanctuaries. As she conducts classroom lectures and organizes field trips to other religious sites, she brings the action alive with student questions, commentary, and experiences.

What is it that Christianity and other religions have in common? How is our worldview restricted, and how can we expand that view to better understand and experience other religions? As Taylor reminds us: It’s “safer to read about religion in a textbook, but being present in the services, ceremonies, and holy places is how we really risk” vulnerability to understand those who do not hold the same faith as we do.

At the Hindu temple, Taylor shares thoughts about similarities in reincarnation and resurrection. That is, that each has a similar pattern; there is no new life without destruction or death. Students observe a prayer ritual, challenging their core beliefs about Jesus as the only way to know God.

At the Buddhist darmha-hall, students are exposed to bright orange robes and bowing motions that show respect to the monk teacher. When the monk begins the lesson, one student reveals, “This is just about life.” Back in the classroom, the students are challenged to experience singing bowls, which Buddhists believe speak to different energy levels in our bodies (known as chakras). Is this music of the Buddhists, the singing bowls and chants, similar to hymns sung in our worship services? Taylor challenges the students to find such similarities.

And that’s when she finds the words to describe the admiration of many of the practices encountered in the studies and trips of other religions: Holy Envy.

“Buddhist meditation is not the same as Christian centering prayer, but my envy of the discipline required by the former increases my desire to put more effort into the latter. A Muslim goes to Mecca for different reasons than I go to Bethlehem or Canterbury, but my envy of the Hajj causes me to wonder why I make my pilgrimages alone.”

Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Hindi. Do all have spiritual or other practices which prompt our Holy Envy? How do we grow spiritually, ourselves, as we learn more about those other religions? Perhaps the author states it best herself, when speaking of embracing religious diversity:

“This is how far my holy envy has brought me: from fearing that Jesus will be mad at me for smelling other people’s roses to trusting that Jesus is the Way to embrace all ways.”

Perhaps there’s something to this “Holy Envy.” What might you find, if you, too, join in the conversation?

Flunking Sainthood, by Jana Reiss

flunking sainthood

“Flunking Sainthood”


I first read Jana Reiss on social media. She has a wicked sense of humor, as I learned when she undertook the task to tweet the Bible. Yes, tweet the Bible. Over a three-year period, Riess summarized the Bible into 140 characters a day. For example, her #Twible for Luke 2?

#Twible Lk 2: “Ma’am, we have no rooms available, but there’s a rustic barn out back that is, um, quite charming. The hay is free today.”

So it was that I began Flunking Sainthood, expecting a humorous attempt at …. something. Turns out, Riess had committed to a book on spiritual practices, and determined that her best research would come from self-imposed spiritual practices.

She begins with a thesis: We can’t really hear what God is saying unless we do what God is saying. That points to spiritual practices, and Riess vows to select twelve practices, continuing each for a month, to grow closer to God (the old-fashioned way, like the martyrs, but she adamantly cross martyrdom off the list of options).

First is fasting. Next, cooking as a spiritual practice. In both, she cannot complete the month. One gets the feeling – given the title of the book – that this failure will be a recurring theme.

Another attempt at lectio divina has her curious how one stays awake during the process, but she perseveres and learns to enjoy the silence. Abstaining from shopping, or practicing simplicity, is another monthly practice that doesn’t last.

Riess begins the summer months committed to contemplative prayer, returning often to her quieting phrase, “Peace. Be Still.” In this practice, she learns a critical component to any spiritual formation activity: make it your own. If contemplative prayer isn’t working, tweak the practice. Riess does this by reciting a prayer during the day, often: “Lord, Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” We Methodists might change the words a bit (“Jesus Christ, son of God, pour out your grace on me.”) But in making the prayer her own, a short prayer can be prayed often during the day, and becomes a practice of its own: humility, confession, forgiveness, all at the same time.

There are lessons in observing a Sabbath, embracing gratitude, and practicing hospitality as St. Benedict encouraged. Eating as a vegetarian for a month becomes a tribute to St. Francis, who valued all of creation. Praying the hours could be a worthy spiritual practice, once we get past the absolute order of the clock’s mandate. Flex-time prayer becomes a more soothing practice. And finally, at year end, the practice of generosity is an appropriate end to the year, as she focuses on the spiritual practice of giving.

Of all the chapters, the epilogue is my favorite, so you must read to the end. Turns out, one of the best ways to be in relationship with God? Be in relationship with others. Don’t overlook the opportunities to love your neighbor, or your family. And perhaps, after a year of flunking sainthood, we might all realize that being a saint is not at all what God asks of us, anyway.


The Muppet Movie is 40.

Steve pointed out this NPR read to me this morning. We both smiled, as he forwarded it to me and to Shannon (we were sure it would make her smile, too).


I didn’t have time to read it right away, but thoughts came to mind about writing a blog about it. Something in the line of my “Listening for God on Broadway” or “Listening for God in the Movies” themes.

And to be honest, didn’t you start humming “Rainbow Connection,” hearing banjos and Kermit’s nasally voice?

rainbow connection

When I eventually read the article, I thought it was brilliant. Click HERE if you want to read (or listen) to it.  So many memories came flooding back, and yes, I continued to smile. I even joined Steve in some laughter.

I think that’s part of the point of the movie. Keep smiling. Keep laughing. Keep living. As the first line of Rainbow Connection asks: “Why are there so many songs about rainbows, and what’s on the other side?”


Why are we waiting for “the other side?” Why do we find it so hard to really live, each and every day?  We talk about that a lot in theology. The Kingdom of God is a “here and not yet” discussion to me. Yes, there is the promise of eternal life, and the promise of something so much better than where we are now.

But that doesn’t mean we are just sitting around, waiting for that day or time or season. My faith in God – in that promise – helps me to live a better life, here and now, because I have faith that the promise has been, is, and will always be fulfilled. And part of that is not just living for myself, but living for others, helping in whatever way lifts them out of their struggles. Living, to me, means knowing joy and pain, and knowing that God is in the midst of each, and of everything in between those two extremes.

It’s because of my faith that I can respond to God’s call to act now, with confidence and without fear. As we hear Kermit sing:

“Have you been fast asleep?
And have you heard voices?
I’ve heard them calling my name.
Is this the sweet sound that calls
The young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same.
I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that i’m supposed to be

Someday, we’ll find it,

The Rainbow Connection

The lovers, the dreamers, and me.”

That, my friends, is God calling your name. And God is calling, asking that you be all you are supposed to be, as children of Light. As you celebrate The Muppet Movie turning 40, remember the important lesson found in the last lines of the movie:

lifes like a movie

Don’t be afraid to live your life,  to hear and respond to God calling you to do something new.  Someday, you’ll find it: The Rainbow Connection.


Note: Images may be subject to copyright. The Muppet Movie and Kermit the Frog are trademarks of The Muppets Studio, LLC, owned by The Disney Company. Music and lyrics to The Rainbow Connection were  written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher,


Micah 3:5-8

Micah 3 8

Thus says the Lord concerning the prophets
    who lead my people astray,
who cry “Peace”
    when they have something to eat,
but declare war against those
    who put nothing into their mouths.
Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision,
    and darkness to you, without revelation.
The sun shall go down upon the prophets,
    and the day shall be black over them;
the seers shall be disgraced,
    and the diviners put to shame;
they shall all cover their lips,
    for there is no answer from God.
But as for me, I am filled with power,
    with the spirit of the Lord,
    and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression
    and to Israel his sin.



On Wednesday morning I poured my first cup of coffee and sat down to read my morning devotion. Our dog, Gromit, laid down with his usual ‘huff,’ knowing that his morning meal would wait a bit longer.

Truth be told, I was feeling a bit anxious about the day – a big day in the liturgical year: Ash Wednesday. It’s a day of repentance, when Christians worldwide come face-to-face with mortality, the first day of Lent. I was prepared to address that anxiety in my journal writing that morning, and in my readings, one word resonated.


See, on that morning, I was confronted and comforted by God that I would be called that day to proclaim to others that, even in the midst of their own humanity, as messy as it can be, we are each “Enough” for God. God knows every hair on our head, and has written our name in the palm of his hand – even in the messiness, we are enough.

And as my pen flowed, I could hear God calling, with instruction for the day:

Trust me enough.

I am enough.

Enough for all you ever need to be at peace in this world.

Having heard God’s call for the day, I set down my pen, closed my journal and my bible, fed the dog, and prepared for the day ahead. I was prepared to proclaim the Word, in whatever ways I was presented on that day.

Then a different word came, this time through news reports.

Once again, a shooting at a school, this time in Florida. In a little over 5 minutes, 17 persons killed and many more injured.  Emotion in my neighborhood was already on edge. Just the day before, we had memorialized Officer David Sherrard, a victim of a shooting the week before.

I was raw, and I was angry. I’m still angry. And again, in a new way this time, I hear the word:


I am confident that many of us heard that word shouted in our heads and piercing in our hearts: ENOUGH! Enough of the violence and hate and divisiveness. Enough of the fighting and the guns and the arrogance and self-trumpeting leadership that that pulls God’s people apart, and refuses to see the real problems of those who are hurting in our world.


But no, the news cycle wasn’t finished, and information pops up so very quickly these days.

And I say that because yesterday, the leader of a white supremacist group in Florida made claims that the shooter was a member of their group. Taking responsibility for the tragedy, even in the midst of mourning, and trying hard to divide an already raw community and country.

Whether that claim of the shooter’s participation is correct or not is contested now – Florida officers are stating that there is no known activity or connection between this shooter and the hateful and bigoted group. Yet, because of the shooting, the group felt emboldened and empowered “enough” to push their claims of superiority and purity, instigating even more division into this tragedy.

But I cry a different: Enough!

Enough of the bitterness, and divisiveness, and creating your own set of facts.

Because, my friends, just as we are enough to God, we are also enough to make a difference.

That’s why the cry of “Enough” needs to come from our very gut and yelled out from every square inch of our cities:  Enough!

Friends, I pray today that Micah be an example to us. Micah not only shared the words of the Lord when he cried out that those who cry “peace,” who sit in comfortable surroundings, who are willing to look the other way and not address the true needs of our community – Micah knew to call those leaders and people out in their shame.

But hear what Micah shares for those of us who cry, “Enough!”:

But as for me, I am filled with power, with the spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”

Brothers and Sisters, on this day, know that together, we are enough. Our voices, as we gather them together to demand justice for all of God’s creation – we are enough.

As we condemn the violence in the world, that we are enough.

As we encourage each other and others to make their voices heard, we are enough.

As we walk together to put an end to the hate and bitterness that divides our nations, races, and creeds, we are enough.

We are enough, because together, and like Micah, we carry power; we carry the spirit of the Lord, with justice and with might.

We are enough.

Our work IS enough to bring the change that is needed. The reconciliation among the races that is needed. The call for reasonable gun control that is needed. The call to end the words of hate that is needed. The call to the people that God needs.

Our work is enough to respond to the call of God to spread His power, glory, and justice throughout the land.

May you know that it is so; and may your actions today and this next week declare that together, we are enough.

Social Graces in a Such a Time as This

This morning, NY Times’ columnist David Brooks shared “The Golden Age of Bailing.”  He ponders whether we have become immune to last-minute cancellations, or “bailing.” He’s got a point – and I’m sure many of us agree. Who among us hasn’t used a last minute excuse to cancel a meeting, or a social gathering, or even a phone call?


Do simple courtesies matter anymore? Ask any bride-to-be, tracking down rsvp’s is a nightmare. It’s common to send texts rather than to talk on the phone. I recently mailed a birthday card to a friend, rather than settle for a standard Facebook post…you would have thought I had purchased her a new car, she was so surprised!

Maybe I’m a little more aware of social graces right now, simply because I’ve been watching “Downton Abbey,” The PBS drama which aired in seasons 2011-2016. The show centers around the Grantham family, an aristocratic lineage in England in the early to mid 20th century. Being in the aristocracy, or working in their household, brings certain responsibilities; the show’s writers brought wonderful storylines that challenge much of the expected protocol among the family members and their estate.


Caution to readers: I’ve only just finished Season 3, so no spoilers, please. If you’ve not yet watched the series, consider this fair warning that you will be hooked quickly.

Now – back to the question: On a scale of “Downton Abbey” for exceedingly proper (though not condoning the protocol), and “Downton Rude” is expected these days?  More importantly, does it matter?

Here’s my answer: I don’t know what’s ‘proper,’ but I do know that manners have everything to do with consideration of the other person. And that makes it all the harder to admit my own fault – that by not acknowledging an invitation, or a gift, or a phone call, for example, I’m not exactly at my most loving! Even when I love the other person dearly.

Isn’t that what love is? Consideration of others, and not of self?

We just completed Vacation Bible School at Christ UMC. The program this year carried a theme of “Fruit of the Spirit.” In one short week, the children learned what we often forget: that in consideration of others, we can call on the Spirit to provide love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).


Would that we all embrace the lessons learned by these children! We live in a difficult world, and some claim that public discourse is as bad as its ever been. I don’t expect one returned rsvp to make all the difference, but we have to start somewhere.

A thank you note. Checking in on one who is sick. Holding your tongue when you really want to scream. Attending that meeting, even when you are tired (check out Luke 9:10-11 – even Jesus wanted to retreat privately but met with others when he may have been tired). Don’t bail, even if it’s socially acceptable to do so – someone may need you.

Embracing the fruit of the Spirit – I am convinced that renewing our focus on others will contribute to a positive change for our world.

Who’s with me?

Review: “More: God Has Everything Waiting for You.”

I had just finished reading the book, “Move,” on which the premise of this book was based. ‘Move’ is a data driven book that analyzes the results of over 1,000 church responses to faith practices and individual closeness to Christ. It is most helpful to church staff (to implement). Hawkins helped analyze the results of the survey.

I was expecting the same from “More.” I was wrong.


More is the personal account of Hawkins’ embrace of the “Move” survey results. That means that this book is almost autobiographical in nature, and he does use a lot of personal witness to underline his points.

The writing is narrative, the summaries for practices are good. And, I suspect that Hawkins’ target audience are those who are ‘stuck’ in their faith. What next? Why isn’t this all working? Should I just give up?

Hawkins provides a credible argument (and backs it up) that our life with God is at its best when we agree to die ourselves for God, and when when we incorporate God into every aspect of our lives. How does one do that? How to we die, and still live (even better than before)? That’s for Hawkins to answer in his book; he gives practical advice for Christians who might be struggling to give up control.

Everyone will not enjoy this book; as I mentioned before, those who are ‘stuck’ in their faith might benefit from Hawkins’ suggestions most. But I’ll also point out that, as Christians, we are not called to only move our own faith, but also to make disciples of others. As a result, if you, personally are not stuck, consider reading from the perspective of one who is. With that in mind, you might learn how to help others get ‘unstuck’ in their search for more meaning in their relationship with God.