For many followers of Jesus we desire earnestly for us and our families to grow in our faith, but we haven't acquired all the right patterns and resources to help us do so. Evangelical culture often tells us that if we can just grab the latest Christian book, or small group fad, then we will make powerful strides in our faith, but rarely do these flashes produce the long-term results that we desire.
So instead, let me tell you about this newly published book that will change everything... Just kidding. The book I review today will not be the next Christian fad. I can promise you that. It is rather a quiet sign post that points us back toward some tried and true trails of Christian discipleship from centuries ago.
The book acts as a travel guide to help bring us up to speed on celebrating the Christian calendar, and Lent in particular, as a powerful and lasting way of learning to follow Jesus. It clearly joins the disciplines of Lent to a greater joy and celebration of Easter, and it addresses some Evangelical concerns about the origins and theology behind the season. I was especially grateful for his chapter on "A mercifully short History of Lent," which explained that the same councils that produced our wonderful orthodox creeds, also established the united practice of Lent in the Christian church.
Another strength of the book is its accessibility and practicality. The book could be read comfortably by a middle schooler, and each of the Lenten practices of giving, fasting, praying, confession and corporate liturgy, were addressed in a 'scalable' fashion that gave ideas for starting out, as well as for the seasoned practitioner. As someone who has been walking the Christian calendar in meaningful ways for the last decade, many of the chapters were review, but I found myself led to participate in some of his suggestions about social media, and grateful for the way he was clearly inviting others to join us on the journey.
The Good of Giving Up won't bring you to tears, or leave you inspired beyond words, but it might be just the tour guide you need to help you start the journey of walking the Christian calendar regularly. If the book can do this, then it has done something all the latest, popular studies couldn't do, and that is to hand you a pattern that could keep you growing closer to Jesus, all your life's years.
You can purchase the book on Amazon
Author: Cameron Lemons
Reflections from the pastor