Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Review: The Wisdom of the Seasons

If you want a book that helps you consider the state of your congregation and how God is moving in it, this is the book for you. Author Charles M. Olsen suggests that congregational life follows cyclical patterns of letting go, naming (or recognizing) God’s Presence and taking hold (or moving forward). At first it seems simplistic, but as Olsen likens those patterns to the church year itself and then to various phases of congregational life, you find it quite plausible. And not only plausible, but helpful in analyzing where your congregation is and how you might move to another stage.

According to Olsen, church life is Trinitarian, revolving around the seasons of Easter (letting go, as Jesus did), Christmas (recognizing God) and Pentecost (moving on in the Spirit. He offers stories of various congregations that have recognized where they needed to let go, recognized God’s Hand at work and then moved on to in a fresh direction. These stories are quite interesting, eye-opening and motivational.

The book also deals with the importance of sharing our stories because in so doing we discover how others perceive events and truths emerge that might otherwise be overlooked. Closing pages suggest ways the book might be useful to an individual or a congregation. I bought the book to better acquaint myself with church seasons, and I got more than I bargained for. I will now be more aware of the significance of each season and how we as a congregation are experiencing it. A good read.

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