Over the years, I have found that the more I like a book, the harder it is for me to write its review. And today, I am STRUGGLING. More than anything, I wish I could grab a cup of coffee and tell you all about this book, or better yet, read it with you over the course of several weeks. Needless to say, I loved The Divine Adventure: Spiritual Practices for a Modern-Day Disciple by Rebecca Friedlander, and I can’t wait to tell you why.
A bit about the Author…
I don’t know Rebecca personally, but through this book, I learned that we actually live within a few miles of each other! Rebecca Friedlander lives in a cabin in Northeast Texas where she often hosts prayer and discipleship retreats. Rebecca is a Creative to her core has spent a lot of her adult life traveling around the world, taking pictures, leading worship services, and producing creative, Christian films. I learned about her newest book, “The Divine Adventure”, through a blogging community I am a part of. The moment I heard its premise, I knew it was something you and I would enjoy reading.
What I loved about it…
I have read a lot of books about spiritual disciplines in my day; it’s one of my favorite topics. So when I first started this book, I wasn’t expecting to read anything new- but, oh, how I was wrong. Not only does Rebecca include several practices we don’t often find in books like these (ie: meekness, community, pilgrimage, and obedience), but the illustrations and stories she used to drive her points home were so fresh and compelling. I found myself highlighting something on nearly every page!
There are so many things that make this book unique amongst the sea of spiritual discipline books. First, Rebecca is a young, single woman so her perspective and experiences are different than the older men we typically read within this genre. I found her feminine point-of-view to be so fun and fresh! She made me excited to observe these practices all over again.
To help us understand the origins of these practices and why they’re still pertinent today, Rebecca tells stories of early Christian communities who practiced them. An example of this is in her chapter on the practice of pilgrimage. This is not a practice I have ever seen in a spiritual disciplines book, nor is it a practice I have ever considered using in my own faith journey. After reading Rebecca’s stories of her own personal pilgrimages and those of the early Christians, I’m inspired to plan a pilgrimage of my own, soon!
I also loved how simple and attainable Rebecca makes these practices feel. In each chapter, she gives multiple ideas for living out the featured practice. I was particularly impacted by her chapter on community. In it, she described how she turned her friend’s backyard into a safe space for intentional faith conversations and deeper relationships. The picture Rebecca painted for us of Christian community was so compelling and simple! I immediately began planning some community dinners of my own.
Another unique aspect of this book is the way in which Rebecca weaves her own poetry into the text. At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked it, but the more I read, the more I enjoyed the simple way her verses reiterated her points. It is a really different and beautiful aspect of her book.
Finally, at the end of each chapter, Rebecca asks a few, probing application questions. She also suggests one or two starting points to put that topic into practice. These elements make this book a great choice to read with a friend or in a book club.
A few of my favorite quotes…
“The truth is: God loves our willingness! Even our baby steps toward him are met with the beaming pleasure of our Father. Pursuing him, even with wobbly baby steps, brings him great joy.” p. 31
“A pilgrim heart absorbs the stories of faith found on sites where they actually happened. Our faith is strengthened when we touch the stones and walk the ground where God moved in ages past. We can hear about it from books or the mouths of others, but when we go…when we challenge ourselves to meet with God on the journey…the events embed themselves in our minds and become real to us. God moves us from the stories we hear to the stories we live out. Taking a pilgrimage becomes a beautiful way to embrace the divine adventure of faith and make it our own.” p. 103
“The true concept of obedience starts by asking, Who is the Lord? And as we learn who he is, it becomes the most logical thing in the world to obey his voice.” p. 119
“When we fast as a spiritual practice, we’re like the person who puts their phone away, locks eyes with the Friend across the table, and says, ‘In this moment, I choose you’…” p. 174
“When we choose to be disciples, we become part of a massive tribe that has already done this very thing: run fully after the heart of Jesus and lived radical lives in response to his love. We’re not alone in this journey. We’re surrounded by a cheering entourage of saints who have finished their race well. The testimony they leave behind reminds us that we too can follow Christ with passion.” p. 204
“The Divine Adventure” is right for you if…
If you have always wanted to read a book on spiritual disciplines but found them to be boring or intimidating. Or, if your faith feels stagnant and you could use a fresh perspective on what life with Jesus could be!
Cheering you on, Mama!
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