it’s only fair to admit, prior to writing this review, that tony (the author) is a highly valued friend of mine, one i have such a deep level of respect for that i constantly desire to be influenced by him (both in person, and by his writing).
and it’s only fair to admit, prior to writing this review, that i’ve come to cherish lectio divina — the subject of the book — as a path of prayer that brings me into direct contact with the maker of the universe who loves me.
so to say i was pre-disposed to like this little book is, well, only fair to admit. fair admissions aside, it’s a great book.
written to teenagers and college-age students, obstensibly (which really means that most of us can actually understand it!), the book has a simple intention: to explain the theology, history and practice of one particular prayer discipline, lectio divina. lectio isn’t a complicated process, but understanding it more deeply is helpful (i can tell it will be helpful for me). it’s a disarming book, because tony’s tone isn’t one that assumes the reader brings all kinds of nasty, “this is evil” baggage to the book. there are plenty of people who will bring that bias or suspician, thanks to the relative success of the new brand of fear-mongers feverishly working to re-define evangelicalism in their own image or, at least, in their own imagination. but this book doesn’t brace itself for that: which makes it a breezy, casual, even whimsical read. i love the way tony gives us tangible “walk throughs” in three different settings: one his own (you’ll feel like you’re sitting next to him on that dock in northern minnesota), with his youth group, and with his church.
the only odd thing to me about this book has nothing to do with the content itself, and won’t be an issue for 99% of the readers. it’s that i can’t figure out the timing on this thing. it released in 2006. but tony seems to have written it when he was in the thick of youth ministry — which he hasn’t been (in terms of employment, that is) for a handful of years. tony? can you ‘splain? oh, and i’m dying to know why it was published by the “th1nk” division of navpress (their line of books for older teens and twenty-somethings), but isn’t on the th1nk website. it’s only on the regular navpress website. simple administrative oversight? or is there a story there (i’m wondering since it was some content in our emergentYS line that caused navpress to pull the plug on that line just before the first books went to print: we moved the whole line to zondervan at that point).
in summary: not only would this be a good book for high school upperclassmen and college age students, it’s really a great little read for any age.