An Unhurried Life Publicity


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Since it’s release, An Unhurried Life, has begun to receive attention in a few blogs. I have also done a few radio interviews that have begun to be archived:

Blog and other website reviews/mentions:

A few booksellers online

Radio Interviews

  • Great News Radio blog and audio archive (June 17 and June 18)
  • Moody Radio South (May 27 no audio archive)
  • Faith Radio with Dr. Bill Maier, “Learning to Slow Down” (June 22)

If you are aware of a mention, review, etc. not mentioned above, feel free to share links in the comment section.

Buy your copy of An Unhurried Life on Amazon.com or your fine local bookseller.

An Unhurried Life: Solitude Slows Me Down


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I’ve enjoyed watching which quotations in the Kindle version of An Unhurried Life are surfacing as most popular among those of you who are the first readers.

One of them, on page 23 (or Kindle location 272), is:

“The practices of solitude, silence and listening to God started to slow me down and enabled me to focus my attention more and more on coming to Jesus and following him rather than talking about Jesus and slaving away for him.”

Elsewhere in the book, I mention this practice as it was introduced to me by one of my mentors and a founder of The Leadership Institute, Wayne Anderson. He called these times “EPCs” (which abbreviates Extended Personal Communion with God). Rather than our just being alone and quiet, he emphasized the relational reality of such time with Jesus in solitude and silence. We enter into Jesus’s invitation to abide in the shared love of Father and Son. It’s like being in the presence of loving couple or community and feeling included rather than excluded. And this emphasis helps to highlight the priority of the Father’s heart for loving relationship rather than frantic service. (Humble, grateful service is a fruit of such relationship).

My experience still is that making time to linger unhurriedly in places of solitary, silent communion with God through Jesus are the very least urgent but usually the very most important activity in my life. From these rich roots, I experience greater creativity and energy, deeper peace and courage.

Buy your copy of An Unhurried Life on Amazon.com or your fine local bookseller.

A Chosen Desert


I’ve learned a lot from the early Christian desert tradition from whom the monastic movement emerged. Here’s an insight about practicing solitude and silence from a more contemporary desert dweller, Carlo Caretto (1910-1988):

“…if you cannot go into the desert, you must nonetheless ‘make some desert’ in your life. Every now and then leaving [others] and looking for solitude to restore, in prolonged silence and prayer, the stuff of your soul. This is the meaning of ‘desert’ in your spiritual life.

One hour a day, one day a month, eight days a year, for longer if necessary, you must leave everything and everybody and retire, alone with God. If you don’t look for this solitude, if you don’t love it, you won’t achieve real contemplative prayer. If you are able to do so but nevertheless do not withdraw in order to enjoy intimacy with God, the fundamental element of the relationship with the All‑Powerful is lacking: love. And without love no revelation is possible.” (Carretto, Carlo. Letters from the Desert. Trans. Rose Mary Hancock. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1972, p. 73-74.)

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A Journey through the Dry Places


(Notes from a day of solitude and silence, May 1991)

Last night, I stayed late reading the first part of John of the Cross’s Dark Night of the Soul. I found a lot that sounded familiar to me. Father, I need wisdom to see what applies to my journey.

Today, I’m taking time to be alone with God in an empty field north of the freeway here in Simi Valley. Following the path of a dried-up creek bed, I think of the dryness in my own life. What felt like a babbling brook only recently now feels like this empty creek bed. I’m walking in places where once there was running water. Now there is nothing but dry rock and silt. Not even a little puddle. My life feels like this. My soul thirsts for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water (Psalm 63:1). I feel tempted by evil like Jesus was in the desert. I need His strength and focus to say “No” to the evil one’s urge to rush me.

As I continue to walk this dry creek bed, I come back to the rushing, crowded, busy freeway. My life feels like this as well. There are many near me making what seems like great progress. They are speeding ahead with apparent purpose and direction. They seem happy to hurry along to next destination. But I feel like I’m standing still in a dry and lonely place while the others rush by. It’s frustrating and dissatisfying.

In the distance, over the noise of the traffic, I hear a single coo from a lone dove. I feel like that dove, mourning and lonesome. Indidn’ this place, Your love feels unreal and distant. I don’t feel the reassurance of Your presence, grace or comfort as I so often have in recent months. I choose to remember here that Your love and faithfulness are enduring, even when my experience shouts, “He doesn’t really love you! You didn’t really believe He’s keep loving you, did you? You are just unlovable.” Father, these statements are lies from the dark depths of hell. The king of liars would have me swallow these poisonous pills. I will not, Father.

My walk brings me finally to a tiny puddle. I notice a sort of spring from which runs a trickle of water. It is so small that the water is sitting stagnant just feet from the source. Right now, this is how my inner life feels—the slightest trickle flowing into a stagnant puddle. Lead me, Father. Be merciful.

 

Looking Back: Waking Myself After I Wake


This morning, I’m taking my younger sons, Bryan and Christopher, with me as I lead “An Unhurried Day with Jesus” at the Ventura Vineyard. My wife, Gem, is leading a women’s solitude retreat for Irvine Presbyterian Church at the Serra Retreat in Malibu this weekend as well. Great opportunities for our family to minister.

Having awakened very early to make the 100+ drive up to Ventura from Mission Viejo, I thought a post from last December might help. There, I quote Elton Trueblood’s practice of “A period of deliberate receptivity at…the beginning of the conscious day.” This has helped me a lot…

Read more of “Waking Myself After I Wake

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Looking Back: How Prayer is Deepened


One of the most difficult practices for busy North American Christians and, therefore, one of the most needful is the regular habit of solitude and silence. I’ve included a link today from a post last August where I talked more about this.

Read more of “How Prayer is Deepened

Looking Back: Cultivating Holy Rhythms of Life


I continue today to recover from a lovely cold/flu that’s parked in my chest. Hurray for antibiotics and cough syrup with codeine. So I’ll make this one short.

E. Glenn Hinson, in an article from Weavings (May/June 2002), talked about how we might more deeply practice the presence of God in our lives through rhythms of daily and occasional disengagements from our activities to simply be in the presence of God.

Read more of “Cultivating Holy Rhythms of Life