As we anticipate summer rhythms, ESN wants to offer book suggestions from our readers. Our hope is that this will provide great conversation starters for ESN members as you engage with each other online and at events like the upcoming InterVarsity faculty retreats and the American Scientific Affiliation conference. We also hope you find some great summer reading. The format is simple: Give us the title, a quotation from the book if desired (150 words or less), and a paragraph on why this book is worth reading (for Christian scholars in general or for you individually). The book can be related to your academic work and life, or related to theology and living the Christian life, or recreational reading that helps you rest and enjoy the summer. ESN blog editor Hannah Eagleson offers her summer reading suggestion below. Please send us your suggestions in a similar format.
Book Suggestion: Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul, by Mark Buchanan
This book is about four distinct seasons—not in the natural world but within us. It explores the cycles in our hearts that, like the axial turnings of earth, mark out seasonal rhythms in our lives: flourishing and fruitful, stark and dismal, cool and windy, or everything coming up new. The seasons I’m describing are not the seasons of aging—where youth is spring, early adulthood summer, middle age fall, and old age winter. Interesting as that is, it’s not what I’ve set my hand to here. This is: our souls, our hearts, have seasons, too.
Buchanan, Mark. Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul (Kindle Locations 95-100). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
Why it’s worth reading:
This book helped me understand one of the hardest periods of my own time in graduate school as I was coming into the next season, and it’s helped me flourish since. Buchanan says that we go through periods of life that can be understood through the metaphor of seasons: Winter is a metaphor for those times when we feel dead or dormant for a time, spring describes moments of our lives where we are exploring new things and starting endeavors with hope and anticipation, summer helps us understand times of flourishing and joy, and fall represents times of harvest where we see things we planted come to fruition. A friend gave me this book at a time when I was coming out of winter into spring, and the book gave me the language to understand what I had just been through in a difficult season of my life and what I was stepping into as God gave me new life in so many ways. I’ve returned to it many times in the years since then, and it’s fundamentally shaped my thinking and my spiritual practice since then. In addition to a rich reflection on Scriptural metaphors, stories from everyday life, and theological study, the book also provides brief spiritual exercises called “time-ins.” I found these to be incredibly helpful when I had the time to do them, and even when I didn’t they broadened my understanding of how God could work in my life.