My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Review: Spiritual Practices for Soul Care: 40 Ways to Deepen Your Faith

Spiritual Practices for Soul Care: 40 Ways to Deepen Your Faith Spiritual Practices for Soul Care: 40 Ways to Deepen Your Faith by Barbara L Peacock
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Each chapter begins with a topical title and introduction to a specific discipline or practice. Then there is a scriptural pericope (aka scripture focus) that inspired the practice and on which to meditate further. This is followed by a very brief introduction to a person (aka soul care leader) who [presumably] models this practice in everyday living (along with a specific book or other work that illustrates why that person was chosen (and potentially provide a follow-up in the case of written works). The author then provides a short poem, also inspired by the discipline or practice (which didn’t do much for me, but I generally struggle with poetry). Finally there are some recommendation on putting that particular discipline “in action” (although this was generally in the form of prompting questions … so more meditative than active). For the most part, this book only works if it is used as a springboard for future study and meditation (with numerous references to material that supports the disciplines or practices identify in each chapter. In at least one case, the contextual facts presented did not match my own understanding (specifically the claim that a majority of jewish homes had an upper room that served as a prayer closet). This leads me to question other contexts presented and detracts from my own ability to simply accept what is said and enjoy it.

After reading the publisher summary and endorsements, I still was not expecting this book to essentially be a 40 day devotional. My track record with devotionals is extremely hit or miss for a number of reasons, such as not connecting to the life experience examples or from the need by the author to strength it all out to cover a specific number of days; additionally, in my experience, there tends to be a lot of beautiful fluff and not as much practical application in this type of work. In this case, the number 40 was chosen because of its significance in biblical numerology and gematria and not because the author actually had 40 specific practices to communicate. This means some chapters are quite a bit better than others. Ironically, some of the weakest chapters could have benefited with a more extended treatment and deeper examination, especially of the scriptural and individual exemplar sections. Soon after you start reading the book, it becomes apparent that most of these comes out of the author’s experience as a spiritual director, which is heavily dependent upon a personal connection with the person seeking direction … so it should come as no surprise here that only about 25% of this book connected with me and another 25% was a struggle (with half more or less neutral). I have starred the chapters that I connected with below ...

Part 1 Should Care Living
1. Loving Today
2. Worshiping Today
3. Praying Today *
4. Lamenting Today
5. Celebrating Today
6. Experiencing God Today

Part 2 Soul Care Directing
7. Directing Today *
8, Readying Today
9. Entering Today * Prayer Closet
10. Listening Today
11. Discerning Today
12. Maturing Today
13. Examining Today *

Part 3 Soul Care Discipling
14. Reading Today *
15. Teaching Today
16. Fasting Today
17. Connecting Today *
18, Serving Today
19. Mentoring Today
20. Leading Today

Part 4 Soul Care Restoring
21. Dwelling Today
22. Meditating and Contemplating Today
23. Resting Today
24. Silencing Today
25. Commemorating Today
26. Resurrecting Today

Part 5 Soul Care and Self-Caring
27. Exercising Today
28. Journeying Today
29. Transforming Today
30. Chastening Today
31. Welcoming and Centering Today

Part 6 Soul Care Reflecting
32. Journaling and Writing Today
33. Speaking and Recording Today
34. Envisioning and Awaking Today
35. Ruling Today
36. Thanksgiving Today

Part 7 Soul Care Liberating
37. Storytelling Today
38. Detaching and Attaching Today
39. Slowing Today
40. Freeing and Communing Today

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#SpiritualPracticesforSoulCare #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.