Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Book: The Sacred Year

I am doing some desk-clearing, and have a couple of books to review this week. Thanks for your patience.

<-See? It’s a book.

I must admit, I don’t quite know what to do with Michael Yankoski’s The Sacred Year. It was not quite what I expected—I think I misread the description to indicate more of a look at the cyclical calendar of Christian observances, rather than one person’s journey through a year of digging deeper. From that point forward, I was less enthusiastic. I’ve never heard of Michael Yankoski, and one reason I seek out books to review is to learn from voices I would normally not hear.

Yankoski has given the reader a good look at a year in which he walked away from high pressure life and pursued clearer spiritual devotions. During the course of this year, he followed many of the ancient practices of Christianity, including taking time to bake his own bread to consider “daily bread” more deeply. I know that some of my more serious brethren will have great difficulties with the spiritualist nature of the disciplines.

I personally find the practice of many of the classic spiritual disciplines refreshing. I am more disturbed to read Yankoski’s confession of rising to Christian influence while apparently knowing very little of such practices as stillness and patience. That is not a fault with this book, but rather with the Western Christian Corporation. That’s another rabbit hole, entirely.

It is pleasant to read of someone moving away from the chaos-chase of Western mentality to draw nearer to God, but the division between my expectations and the reality sums up my difficulties with this book. Yankoski presents a sacred year which he was able to pursue. He had the means, the contacts, and the education to connect him with various guides and teachers for this journey.

Unlike the vast majority of Christians. The single mother working two jobs to feed her children can only hope to make a weekly church service to feed her faith, she has very little opportunity to take off an entire year. Likewise, is it responsible to burn candles and firewood in place of seeking more efficient energy? Perhaps using the same power to feed an extra family, rather than highlighting your own situation.

That is where The Sacred Year breaks down for me. Despite the chapters on “depth with others,” it is still a book that highlights Western Solo Christianity. It is about the experiences of here and there, chasing this and that, which if you can’t have, you can’t quite get as deep. But at least you can read about someone who did.

I would rather have seen an examination of a year lived in stable community with the people of God. What is it like to walk through all the seasons of life with the same folks, sharing their days and moments? That is the sacred year of community.

It’s not a bad book. It’s a great book about a spiritual experience that I do not find worth commending to you.

Free book received from BookLook Bloggers.

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