My review of “The Rhythm of the Christian Life: Recapturing the Joy of Life Together”.
Goals of the Book:
What is the best way to spend our time? How do we live in step with God and his will for our lives, and not fall into our own patterns of fleshly desire and sin? For Bryan J. Wright, the answer is learning God’s rhythm and living in it. This book is designed to teach the Church how to identify the rhythm (because Wright did not make it, only elucidates what it is for us), live in that rhythm, and how to do so both as individuals and groups.
While pulling on what he identifies as God’s rhythm, Wright also pulls on Bonhoeffer’s excellent book Life Together. The book becomes a paradigmatic framework for the present volume, showing us how to live in God’s rhythm in community and alone. By drawing on Bonhoeffer, Wright cuts against the rampant cheap grace that infiltrates modern Christianity and calls us back to a life of trust in God based on his grace alone.
What does this book offer the Church?:
In a previous review (The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry), I noted how Christian publishing, and even non-Christian publishing, has been in the business of helping us get our lives together. “From Christian publishers like Moody (Your Future Self Will Thank You, Drew Dyck) or IVP (The Common Rule, Justin Whitmel Earley), to even non-Christian books like How to Break Up with Your Phone or Digital Minimalism, books across the board are showing us how to fix our rhythms, and, hopefully, reclaim our lives.” I’m really in favor of this growing trend. I think it’s desperately needed that we as American learn how to get our lives back. But we also need to be careful that we’re not producing too many of the same books.
Thankfully, Bryan Wright’s volume stands apart from the rest. Whereas Dyck’s book is about self-discipline and Earley’s is about practices to take up to gain your life back, Wright’s might be better described as a foundation book. If you want to take up new rhythms or practices, start with the foundations in Wright’s book. He will teach you how to practice spiritual life, spiritual disciplines, and spiritual gifts in both private and public avenues. Wright also uniquely draws our attention to the love of God serving as the basis of our love, the foundational rhythm.
How successfully does this book meet its goals?:
The book is helpfully divided into sub-chapter headings, as each chapter is fairly long. The chapters usually start by talking about the main idea of the chapter, giving an overview of Wright’s ideas about the topic. The chapter then is divided into subsections, looking at the main topic of the chapter in book the Old and New Testaments. By looking at the main topic through the entirety of the Bible, Wright stresses that 1) he did not make the concept up, 2) the concept is important because it is found throughout the Bible, and 3) that these concepts are foundational because of how important they are. Each chapter does feel a bit long, not bed-reading, but they are full of quality content that is made easier to follow because of the subheadings.
If you’re interested in getting your life back in-sync with God, I recommend this book to you. If you’ve been reading some books on getting your life back, this volume contains enough unique material to be worth adding to your growing pile of books on the subject. You can learn more about the book on Leafwood Publisher’s site, where you can purchase it directly from them. You can purchase the book on Amazon.