17/04/2015

Messy Spirituality (by Mike Yaconelli)


I’ve only read one other book by the late Mike Yaconelli, but I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to read more of his works. I found this particular volume at the AwesomeBooks site, on special offer, and ordered it a couple of months ago.

Messy Spirituality is a refreshingly honest look at how ordinary people can connect with God, without having to go through the hoops and trappings that are so often associated with ‘spirituality’. Yaconelli was a pastor, yet he struggled at times to pray. He made mistakes, he messed up - repeatedly. And finally he accepted that God loved him anyway. That God was there with him, all the time, and that the spiritual life does not have to be a neat progression of steps but is often untidy, disorganised, and messy.

Specific chapters look at hindrances to the spiritual life, including problems from the past. Even well-meaning adults can cause tremendous stress or confusion in a child’s life by forgetting to keep a promise, or explaining something in a way that’s misunderstood. Yaconelli encourages us to let go of the past, whether it’s traumatic and painful or mostly fine, and to move on with God into whatever our future holds.

He explodes some of the myths that some apparently super-spiritual people hold to; he encourages his readers to encounter Jesus rather than to listen to what others tell them about themselves, whether positive or negative. He looks, too, at the importance of love, of caring for others, of doing whatever we’re supposed to do, day by day, and gives examples of how little patches of grace occur when we least expect them.

Peppered with anecdotes, mostly self-deprecating, the book is very thought-provoking. It’s not a difficult read, but I found that a chapter each day was more than sufficient, as there was much to think about. I found it immensely encouraging, that someone was writing so many of the things I have thought, or at least felt.

All in all, I enjoyed this very much and would recommend it highly to anyone, whatever stage they are on the Christian path. Some might need to be prepared to put aside some pre-conceived ideas of what it means to be spiritual, and to be courageous enough to put aside the masks and be honest about their faith.

Not currently in print in the UK, but can sometimes be found as a used book, either hardback or paperback, relatively inexpensively. A newer edition has been published in the US, however.

Review by copyright 2015 Sue's Book Reviews

1 comment:

sparrow girl said...

I absolutely love this book! I agree so much with your well-written review! It's such a great book on grace and you are right, Mike is so self-depracating..and he's funny too! His stories really stay with me and bring me to the brink of tears with their warmth. He helped me really feel God's grace towards me and helped me believe that God could really and truly love me and accept me just as I am.
Blessings to you and thank you for your wonderful blog!
Sparrow (Nancy)