cover image Exercising Your Soul: Fifteen Minutes a Day to a Spiritual Life

Exercising Your Soul: Fifteen Minutes a Day to a Spiritual Life

Gary Jansen, FaithWords, $14.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-446-53953-1

In this conversational guide to historic and contemporary Christian meditative exercises, Doubleday religion editor Jansen persuasively argues that the incorporation of spiritual practices into one's daily routine is not only desirable but achievable without extraordinary effort. The book is divided into five sections, one offering the rationale for trying to connect with God, and four that walk the reader through exercises devoted to prayer, encountering God, engaging the parables, and meditating on the Stations of the Cross (this section includes both traditional and contemporary versions). Chapters build on each other: for example, the parable exercises incorporate previously introduced prayers. Jansen's relaxed, second-person narrative voice amuses and inspires trust; when discussing Christ as the intersection between humanity and all creation he begins, "I hate to do this to you, but I would like to talk briefly about math." Small vignettes and stories reflective of the author's own spiritual journey appear throughout; some, including the two that open and close the book, "White Rabbits" and "Coda," have a magical realism tone, adding a playful element to this well-done spiritual workbook, which both individuals and groups may find enlightening and useful. (Aug.)