cover image The Contented Soul: The Art of Savoring Life

The Contented Soul: The Art of Savoring Life

Lisa Graham McMinn, . . IVP, $17 (184pp) ISBN 978-0-8308-3335-1

McMinn, chair of the sociology-anthropology department at Wheaton College in Illinois, explores the nature and practice of contentment from a contemporary Christian vantage point in this excellent guide to spiritual practice. She turns her attention first to what constitutes contentment and then to some ways we can cultivate it in our busy and sometimes unfulfilled lives. There is much to ponder about slowing down in order to become more aware, practicing fortitude, living with our physical limits and resisting "rugged individualism" in favor of embracing and supporting strong community ties or "communitarianism." McMinn pays special attention to the act of remembering, "because the needs of the day demand attention and energy that drain our capacity to remember." To engage readers with each theme, McMinn places discussion and reflection questions at the end of each chapter. The unique gift of this book is McMinn's background as a sociologist; she deepens many popular spiritual practices by placing them in the context of the great web of life and does so with the ease and beauty of a memoir. This book will especially delight those interested in understanding how inner peace is vitally connected to peace in the exterior world. (May)