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This is an excellent book. It joins some others on the spiritual disciplines written by philosophers—Dallas Willard, Edith Stein, Simone Weil. This one really is very readable! And wonderful insights!
Kyle’s lively prose and passionate verve will make you forget every caricature of the tweedy, elbow-patched philosopher. This is feisty Christian thinking with wit and wisdom and both eyes fixed squarely on the nitty-gritty realities of the proverbial “real world.” Above all, this book is a thoughtful invitation to life like the new creatures that we are.
This book redirects us beyond the radical individualism that so often permeates our communities today. I haven’t read anything like it. Kyle’s voice as a writer consistently seeks the surprising, challenging angle on a topic that could otherwise risk being rote.
In each chapter, Kyle works to reconnect the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the practice. In one sense, this book can be seen as part of a trend toward reclaiming the importance of the ordinary in our lives. Kyle contributes to the conversation with his emphasis on spiritual disciplines and his consistent reminder that loving our neighbor as ourselves is an essential part of the daily call to follow Jesus.
We have focused much on the first great commandment. Kyle helps us put shoes on the second great commandment. After he discusses each spiritual discipline he gets down and dirty with specifics. If you take him seriously, your life and your neighborhood will be changed.
Kyle helps us see that spiritual disciplines are for the good of others as well as ourselves. Take up and read this antidote to spiritual heroin and be encouraged to pursue a life with God with both vertical and horizontal dimensions.
Kyle has persuaded me that spiritual disciplines not only effect the relationship between the individual and God and not only the relationships within communities of faith - they have sustaining, renewing, and prophetic effects in relation to public life. Kyle has also persuaded me that spiritual disciplines are not optional add-ons to our everyday lives - they are integral slants cultivated within the practices of everyday life. I’m convinced that the consequences for other readers of this book will be similarly significant.
Kyle is exactly the type of person we need to help us see how the spiritual disciplines make our lives as citizens and neighbors into holy lives. He is a philosopher with a phenomenological approach and a pastoral heart. His book on the “horizontal” dimensions of the spiritual disciplines is a timely, much needed contribution to the emerging conversation surrounding the spiritual disciplines.