Book: Ordering Your Private World


Today’s book was provided through Handlebar, and it’s a reprint/update of Gordon MacDonald’s book Ordering Your Private World.

It’s called: Ordering Your Private World (Revised and Updated).

What can I say? If you’ve got a good title, stick with it. I’m a guy who titles every book review as “Book: Title” and nothing much else.

Now, though, we need to talk about content. I daresay that most of us have challenges in our personal life, difficulties in keeping our inner turmoil under control. It is not merely that we lose ourselves into external chaos, but inside we are done for.

The problem? Our “private world,” who we are down inside and how we live it out, has no stability. That is the idea that Gordon MacDonald addresses in Ordering Your Private World. Now, this is the revised/updated version of a book first constructed in the 1980s, and so some of the ideas are directed at problems that were more evident in that decade. However, for those of us that think we’re “better than that,” may I point out that I’ve seen a few mullets of late and we’re seeing other signs of that decade returning. Our problems are cyclical.

Into this era, sometimes we think we need newer solutions, but if Christianity is true, then most of the right way to address the problems we face has remained the same for centuries. MacDonald, then, is not out to provide new solutions to new problems—he’s looking to connect what we may think are new problems to old problems, and point back to the ever-present solutions of Biblical life.

In that vein, I found MacDonald’s work excellent and helpful. First, his writing style is personal. Every principle he addresses, he speaks in the first person and details his own struggles with the matter. Obviously, he presents the issues as problems he has found some portion of the solution to, not those which remain completely unresolved. And, being a personal writing, he expresses what works for him. In some cases, it won’t work for others, but the principle can be considered and applied.

Second, I found MacDonald’s work to be practical and relevant. I read a good many books—some of them are neither practical nor relevant, and some practical but not relevant. (I’m finishing up one this week that deals with what one should before starting seminary. It’s practical…but a bit late for me, personally.) MacDonald, though, has worked through many of the classic spiritual disciplines and demonstrated how to work them into the every day of life.

In all, I found this a great read. While there are areas of application that I may differ with, in all I think that one’s walk with Christ will be strengthened by reading Ordering Your Private World. As Andy Andrews has said many times, “Experience is not the best teacher…other’s people’s experience is!”

Reading this will give you access to Gordon MacDonald’s experience. It’s worth it.

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