Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Book Reviews: Brother Lawrence and A.W. Tozer

Back in July, I betook myself to the woods in pursuit of a Walden Weekend, of sorts.

It was an awesome time alone with God, creepy vault toilet notwithstanding, and during that time I read two books:

The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

These were excellent books and they contributed a huge part to the success of that weekend. But I realize now that I never did anything more than mention that I read them. Personally, I hate to read a great book and "lose it" by not having some kind of formal response or review so I am in the process of putting together a review of each of these.

Until then, here are a few some thoughts:

Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monk, receives quite a bit of hype in my circles. I've even heard it said that a Christian needs nothing more than the bible and Brother Lawrence. With that in mind, let me suggest that he was certainly NOT a wise philosopher in the guise of a humble man. He was truly a humble man touched by wisdom.

This may seem like a subtle or even undefinable distinction but, let me assure, there can be no mistake about what Brother Lawrence was. He was not great by any standard we set: humble in life and skill, simple in thought and word. He was meek and, it seems to me, a shy man. A nice guy, sure, but not the monster of a spiritual warrior that I expected.

Now that you hate me, let me redeem myself. I believe this man was a hero of epic proportions by God's standard. His unwavering faith and pure devotion to God are far beyond admirable. They seem to be very close to the perfect example of Christlike love and submission: life lived fully in the presence of God, there can be no great aspiration. Brother Lawrence did not disappoint my expectations, in his unassuming way, he made them into a bit of a joke.

I came expecting ambrosia and got manna instead.

I won't sat much about The Pursuit of God other than it was named perfectly. It is a well written, easy to understand, short, and engaging book that presents the reader with the opportunity to live a life not only in God's presence, as with the Practice of the Presence of God, but in active constant pursuit of Him. This is a big idea with proportionate implications, don't let my lack of description belittle it.

But for now, know that the two taken collectively will shake you down, inspire you, and equip you to start that relationship with God that you really hope exists.

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