This past week, I finished working through The Good and Beautiful God with another guy from our church community. This book, penned by James Bryan Smith, is the first in The Apprentice Series — three books on spiritual formation. Admittedly, I was a skeptic, because I’ve seen lots of materials like this. But when I saw the testimonial on the cover by Dallas Willard, “The best practice I have seen in Christian spiritual formation”, I was willing to give it a shot.
We are about to move on to the second, The Good and Beautiful Life. The third book, The Good and Beautiful Community, will be out later this year, and I imagine we’ll move on to that too when the time comes.
The books are designed to be read with others, a chapter at a time. Each chapter has content, followed by a spiritual practice for the week to complement the topic. I knew I would like the book when the spiritual practice identified with the first chapter was sleep.
This first time through the book has gone well enough that we are hoping to utilize it more. Our hope in being in Austin has been to start a church by raising up followers of Jesus. While a book study isn’t the only part of this process, we think this book series can shape our broader conversation. And our hearts.