What a refreshing book. I say that even though I’m not personally young enough or hip enough to be categorized as a demographically probable buyer. Amena Brown is known as a “spoken word artist” --- a poet who excels on stage, expressing the rhythms of the lines. Here in the running prose of BREAKING OLD RHYTHMS, without the help of her voice or body, Brown successfully draws out the theme of “rhythm” in relation to her personal and spiritual lives. She’s relating anecdotes from her own story that speak to my life, even though I sometimes hardly understand her hip-hop or beat vocabulary. “No matter how different our culture, background, economic status, family structure or appearance, our humanity is what we all have in common. At some point, we all cry when it hurts and get angry when we’ve been mistreated.”
"What a refreshing book.... The pages inspire you to want to get up and take a risk in some part of your life, in faith, with hope for a bright future."
In short, BREAKING OLD RHYTHMS is about allowing God to set the time and direction --- lead the dance, be the DJ, tend and mend the broken heart. “If God is a DJ, we are all songs. Not only do we all have a rhythm, but we’ve also all had breaks: disappointments, pain, loss, successes, failures. DJing hinges on two things: the break and the timing. God orchestrates both extremely well. He takes every break you’ve ever experienced and mixes it with the tune of hope and the rhythm of his sovereignty to create the beautiful mix of story that will be your life.”
Many of Brown’s personal stories would be of special interest to young single women with professional and romantic ambitions. In the opening chapter, “The Blessing of Irritation,” she’s chafing the bit in a boring, seemingly nowhere job, sitting in a corporate cubicle. In chapter two, “The Rhythm of Fighting,” she makes a move, breaks free from her job, but also takes miscalculated steps, makes regrettable moves, and doesn’t foresee hard times. “It took breaking up, going broke and moving out for me to learn a valuable lesson about breaking an old pattern: prepare yourself.”
Time and again, Brown breaks a misguided pattern or habit --- with seemingly increased maturity in allowing God to direct her steps. In a rushing world, she has learned to seek out the “interlude” of peace and quiet --- yet another metaphor hooked to the poetic/rhythmic theme (in chapter seven, titled “Breathing Room”).
Brown’s book isn’t for the uptight, maybe not even for readers who carry a highlighter to mark theological high points. But I’ll end where I started: it’s refreshing. The pages inspire you to want to get up and take a risk in some part of your life, in faith, with hope for a bright future.
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence on March 14, 2013