By: Trevor Hudson Publisher: IVP Books ISBN: 9780830810925
This is a superb book. Not only is it insightful with its presentation of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ, it provides deeply life-changing exercises and practices that will help any “follower” along the way. I have read and worked through the exercises of many, many spiritual formation/disciplines books and I think this one has been one of my favorites. Maybe it was the way the author, Trevor Hudson, writes… maybe it is the formatting of the book, or maybe it is simply the exercises themselves. Maybe it is all of the above. In any event, this has been a delightful read. I continue to think about the concepts introduced in the exercises, and as such, my thoughts are continually brought back to focus on the object of those thoughts, Christ Jesus. I believe this is the resultant objective of the book, Discovering our Spiritual Identity, and that would qualify it as a success to my thinking.
The book is sectioned into sixteen sessions consisting of an objective idea (aka Holy Experiment), a reading to introduce the idea-experiment, a written assignment or two, and practical assignments with discussion points. While the book (workbook) is certainly capable for individuals, I think it would be best served working through it with a partner or in a group of 3-5 people.
As I mentioned, I have participated in workbooks teaching spiritual disciplines and I have taught them in groups as well. I am thankful for this resource as it has provided me with another means of expressing with “utter simplicity and clarity the profound truths of Jesus Christ” (Dallas Willard).
Trevor Hudson concludes the workbook and exercises with pastoral gentleness, but somber warning and reminder; “Spiritual disciplines are not a way of earning salvation. They do not accumulate for us any heavenly merit or spiritual capital. Our acceptance by God, as we are, rests on grace alone.” This is our reminder, but the reality of God’s grace does not exclude the responsibility of those who are recipients of His grace from being diligent in the exercises of their growth to maturity as disciples of Christ. In that, Hudson shares the summary of activities worked through the book as spiritual commitments that will prove helpful in translating the life of Christ into “our” lives with specific and concrete terms. Ultimately, this translation is the formation of the Christ-life in every aspect and arena of life.
As always, I am grateful for books that are annotated well and provide a bibliography for additional research and reading; Hudson has included a list of both at the end of the book. I have marked this book and placed it alongside my most treasured resource material in my library for my own edification and for teaching others. I recommend it very highly.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Intervarsity Press to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”