Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Sacred Year: A Blog Tour and Book Review

About The Book:

One searcher’s honest and fascinating journey to encounter God, love others, and discover his true self through a year of spiritual practices.

Frustrated and disillusioned with his life as a Christian, motivational speaker Michael Yankoski was determined to stop merely talking about living a life of faith and start experiencing it. The result was a year dedicated to engaging in spiritual practices, both ancient and modern, in a life-altering process that continues to this day. Whether contemplating an apple for an hour before tasting it (attentiveness), eating on $2.00 a day (simplicity) or writing simple letters of thanks (gratitude), Michael discovered a whole new depth through the intentional life.

Stirred on by the guiding voice of Father Solomon, a local monk, Yankoski’s life is slowly transformed. Both entertaining and heart-wrenching, Yankoski’s story will resonate with those who wish to deepen their own committed faith as well as those who are searching – perhaps for the first time – for their own authentic encounter with the Divine.

About The Author:

Michael Yankoski is a writer, aspiring theologian, and urban homesteader who dreams of becoming a competent woodworker, musician, and sailor. He received his MA in theological studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, is a (novitate) Oblate of St. Benedict, and has authored four books. Michael grew up in Colorado, feels at home on the Pacific Coast, and currently resides in Indiana, where he and his wife are pursuing PhDs at the University of Notre Dame.

My Review:

Every year around January 1st, I pick a word that I want to focus on throughout the upcoming new year. I use that word to incorporate into my whole life, whether it's my health, spirituality, or relationships. This year the word I picked was "discipline" since it falls into all areas of my life. One of the things I have done is study the spiritual disciplines, using Richard Foster's book, Celebration of Discipline. Unbeknownst to me, my church planned a sermon series on Spiritual Discipline this summer, and recently I was given the opportunity to review a new book on this very subject as well. The Sacred Year by author, Michael Yankoski was a dynamic read, that took my study of spiritual disciplines to a very different level.

The book was intriguing, and thoughtfully written as the author takes you on a year of his own spiritual journey. I loved that he was vulnerable, honest and raw about his questions, doubts, belief's and so much more. 

The book is divided up into three sections, then each section covers a number of disciplines. Some I was familiar with, others were new to me and left me wanting to learn more about them.

Section One: Depth with Self
1. The Practice of Attentiveness
2. The Practice of Daily Examen
3. The Practice of Sustenance
4. The Practice of Simplicity
5. The Practice of Creativity
6. The Practice of Embracing Mortality

Section Two: Depth with God
7. The Practice of Confession
8. The Practice of Listening Prayer
9. The Practice of Lectio Divina and Regular Eucharist
10. The Practice of Still, Silent Solitude
11. The Practice of Sabbath
12. The Practice of Wilderness
13. The Practice of Pilgrimage

Section Three: Depth with Others
14. The Practice of Gratitude
15. The Practice of Protest
16. The Practice of Pursuing Justice
17. The Practice of Community 
18. The Practice of Caring

Yankoski does a remarkable job and showing us how to stop "going through the motions" of our Christian walk and really strive for a truly authentic relationship with ourselves, others and most importantly, with God. There is plenty of personal experiences shared by the author, and it is very poignantly written, and I felt that contributed to the very authentic feeling the book had. I loved that the author gently, but strongly, showed the reader that we should practice these disciplines not because we "have to" but because we want to as true believers in Jesus Christ. I loved the question and answer section at the end of the book, that allowed me (and other readers) to get to know the author even more.

Through reading The Sacred Year, I have been encouraged now, more than ever before, to get more authentic with God! 

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Sacred Year online through Amazon.

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of LitFuse Publicity Group, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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