Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Review: Soul Keeping

Hello everyone!

I had the privilege of receiving an advanced reader copy (ARC) of John Ortberg's new book "Soul Keeping" (April 22, 2014; Zondervan) through Bible Gateway's Blogger Grid. I was fortunate enough to be one of only ten bloggers who received the ARC to review. (yay!) You may purchase the book here or here. (It was just released today!)

First impressions (before even opening the book): I'll admit, I was a little skeptical when I read the title and tagline "Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You." I thought it was going to be one of those cheesy ten-step self-help books for taking care of your soul. (If you're familiar with the author John Ortberg, you can laugh at me now. If not, keep reading.)

What I actually found was a book written from the soul about the soul. In less that 200 pages John Ortberg manages to relay not only what the soul is, but also a detailed look into what the soul needs. He introduces us to the soul in popular culture, and how it has been referenced over the years, and how it has been replaced with self, which isn't the same thing. Then he defines the soul in relation to the entire person: how the soul interacts with the mind, body, and will to form a complete person, as well as defining the soul in relation to God. He gives us personal insight into the soul, much of which he gained from his life experiences as well as from his  friend and mentor Dallas Willard, to whom the book is dedicated. And through it all, he reminds us that the care of our soul on earth is our responsibility.

"The soul is the stream, you are its keeper." John Ortberg, Soul Keeping

Throughout the book we see the dangers of the neglected soul, and the ugliness of the corrupted soul. Ortberg tells us of the discomfort of the hurried soul and the deadliness of a soul replaced. But even as he exposes the ways in which our souls decay, he tells us of the things that the soul is desperately in need of to thrive and survive: rest, freedom, to be with God, a center, and a keeper, among others. In reading the book we are taken deeper into an understanding of the soul: what affects it, how it affects our entire beings, and how it may affect the lives of others.

"For the soul to be well, it needs to be with God." John Ortberg, Soul Keeping

In reading this book, there were many points where I had to stop and snap, or stop and ponder. John Ortberg's style makes you consider ways that your own soul is in need, and how to meet those needs without seeming to condemn you for neglecting your soul, and also without prescribing a one-size-fits-all cure for what may be ailing your soul. Ortberg alerts us to the importance of making sure that we do not forget that we have an inner nature that needs our attention, and while it is more difficult to tell when the soul is exhausted, the effects of soul-fatigue are just as far-reaching as those of physical or mental fatigue.

"The soul was not made for an easy life. The soul was made for an easy yoke." John Ortberg, Soul Keeping

Overall, I loved this book. (While I had to review it, I didn't have to like it.) I think it's a great read, especially if you're looking to reflect on your soul, or if you want to learn about it. But don't just read it for information. John Ortberg has so many tidbits of wisdom stored in that book, that you could read it 453874 times and see something new each time. I think that this is one of those books that has something for everyone, because each person has a soul, and each of us is our own soul's keeper.

So go get a copy! The book was released today!

Be blessed and shine from your soul!

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23