Soul Keeping: Caring for the Most Important Part of You
John Ortberg, senior pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California, has written a number of bestselling titles that equip Christ followers to take a closer look at their faith and then take necessary measures to make their faith more meaningful. His latest book, SOUL KEEPING: Caring for the Most Important Part of You, will convince readers hands down that they’ve been neglecting the care of their soul. He is so persuasive and his arguments are so compelling that Christians (as well as their non-believing counterparts) will find themselves wincing a bit here and there as he uncovers the most unlikely and unpresuming ways folks allow their souls to suffer.
"Whatever readers thought they knew about soul care before opening this book will likely be set aside as they relearn, rethink and revisit any former notions about this topic."
As Ortberg writes, “Your soul is what integrates your will, your mind, and your body into a single life…and how you live determines the destination of your soul.” He aptly dedicates this powerful read to his lifelong friend and mentor, Dallas Willard, who passed away in 2013. Throughout this text, Ortberg shares the many discussions he and Willard had through the years and how Willard’s life (and soul) were always teaching him to slow down, listen more closely to God, and focus on becoming rather than doing. In fact, Willard’s influence on Ortberg’s life is so profound that readers will want to search out Willard’s written works as soon as they finish Ortberg’s as he shares so many gems from Willard’s own words.
Opening this three-part text, Ortberg tells the story of how he first met Willard in Box Canyon. Willard’s first bit of advice to Ortberg: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” When Ortberg asked what was next, Willard told him that’s it, there's nothing else. “Hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” From this starting point, Ortberg’s life began to change, and through the years he would come back to this seemingly simple mandate…with great change inside of him.
Ortberg shares that unless we are caring for the inside of us (our soul), we simply cannot manage to fulfill God’s assignments for us in this world. Nor will we be able to even identify what we should be doing if our soul is injured, hurting, neglected, or dying. Readers will first learn more about what God’s Word says our soul is and then follow up with what our soul needs. The soul needs a keeper, a center, a future, to be with God, to rest, freedom, blessing, satisfaction and gratitude in order to flourish and grow strong.
Ortberg shares numerous stories and examples of individuals who cared for their souls as well as those who did not, and the difference is startling. Whatever readers thought they knew about soul care before opening this book will likely be set aside as they relearn, rethink and revisit any former notions about this topic. Ortberg’s work here is fresh, invigorating, and oh-so-timely for a nation that prides itself on busyness.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on June 20, 2014