Following the Call (Forthcoming Devotional)

I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, via NetGalley.
  • Eberhard Arnold; Compiled and Edited by Charles E. Moore
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House
  • This is a collection that features writings from a variety of writers and theologians, including Mother Teresa, Leo Tolstoy and John Wesley.

I was drawn to the book because I was intrigued to see the group of authors featured in the text. I was really excited to read Leo Tolstoy’s contributions, for example, because I really enjoyed the discussion of faith in Anna Karenina.

Previewing a Devotional

This is my first time previewing a devotional and it was a much different experience for me than reviewing a fiction book. While I usually bookmark sections that the Lord uses to speak to me, so that I can revisit them, I found myself wanting to bookmark about 80% of the pages.

The book, a compilation of voices that spans centuries and cultures, is meant to be read in community, just as it was written communally. I can certainly understand why it is meant to be read in groups, as it prompts discussion.

Structure and Themes

The weekly devotional covers the entire Sermon on the amount, divided into 52 sections for a year-long study. Most chapters feature multiple authors, although some are one, longer piece of writing.

Something I really appreciate is that the entire book is about the Kingdom of God. This is one of the main themes that I more frequently encounter in allegory, rather than in Christian circles. It is, however, central to Jesus’ teachings! The book is divided into four sections:

  • Kingdom Character (Matt. 5:1-16)
  • Kingdom Commands (Matt. 5: 17-48)
  • Kingdom Devotion (Matt. 6:1-18)
  • Kingdom Priorities (Matt. 6:19-7:28)

It feels a bit strange to say that one section of a devotional was “my favorite,” but I would say that the most meaningful section, for me, was the section about prayer (Kingdom Devotion).

Overall, I would describe the book as being full of grace, truth and beauty. It consistently promotes Jesus’ Kingdom, centralized on the idea that Jesus meant what he said. There is no room to qualify or lessen His words.

Audience

Reading through the book rather quickly for the purposes of review reminded me, a bit, of my college honors program. At the Torrey Honors Institute, we blitzed through theology, philosophy and classics, sometimes reading and discussing two seminal works in a week. I would definitely recommend this book to those who enjoy reading theology.

Although I don’t typically enjoy reading theology, I found this book to be very impactful. I also feel that, because the sections are fairly short for a whole week of study, readers do not need to be theology fans to appreciate the study. The spacing allows for plenty of time to ruminate on what you are reading.

Recommendation:

I highly recommend the title as a community read for friends and groups spanning different ecumenical traditions. I think this is an excellent resource, contributing to unity in the Body of Christ.

Published by Stephanie Agnes-Crockett

Hi, there! My name is Stephanie and I’m a Fresno, CA native. After studying at Biola University, I received my MLIS (Masters in Library Science) from San Jose State University. I live with my mom, poet Kimberly Vargas Agnese, and serve as her unofficial agent. We reside at MeadowArc, a food forest in its infancy. I am called to, and passionate about, purity. In fact, the name Agnes means “pure.” Before I was born, my mom felt led to include the name Agnes in her name, and in the names of her children. My full, hyphenated name includes 26 letters (but not the whole alphabet).

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