Book: Blessed are the Balanced
<---Don’t look now, but there’s another book sneaking up on us!
Blessed are the Balanced is a book that should be required reading for seminary students. More clearly, the cost of a copy should be factored into the application fee and be mandatory reading before you ever take a seminary class, and then again every summer or major school break. I say this as someone who has just finished an overextended journey from first class in seminary to graduate, and had to admit that I was not emotionally and spiritually ready to jump to the next degree.
If you are headed to seminary or in seminary, you need this book. If you are teaching seminary students, you need this book so that you can connect them with the needs they are ignorant of, and so that you can shape a bit of your requirements around those needs.
Now that the rhetoric has passed, let’s actually examine the material. First, BatB is written by two seminary faculty members. They are acutely aware of the pitfalls that they have experienced and that they see in students.
The concept in this book is simple: seminary studies are intended to deepen faith and understanding. This time should both broaden our knowledge and ignite our passion to walk with Jesus. Taken together, these two aspects develop who we are as ministers, even as we follow the Lord into life outside of seminary.
Included in this blessedly thin volume are both ideas and practices worth adopting for the seminary student. Blessedly thin? You’re going to read a lot, and adding only 125 pages is a blessing. The ideas deal with the right approach to wisdom and knowledge.
The practices are varied. While some are ancient spiritual practices that might be too mystical for some, overall these are quite valuable. Even if one has concerns about embracing every one of the classical spiritual disciplines, the suggested practices remain quite helpful.
Given that my first attempt to complete seminary ended in tears and a dry faith, I am perhaps more positive about this work than others will be. Retrospectively, I think it would have been a great read for me in the summer of 2002—so if the next development in technology could be a TARDIS, I’ll drop off a copy with the Doug of those days. He needs this book.
Book provided by the publisher, Kregel Academic, in exchange for the review. Kregel Academic has published some of my favorite books in recent years, as well as publishing the Phillips Commentary Series.