Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Good and beautiful

The Apprentice Series is a collection written by James Bryan Smith and published by InterVarsity Press.

There are three titles in the series: The Good and Beautiful God, The Good and Beautiful Life, and The Good and Beautiful Community. This last title has just been released. According to IVP, “The series is designed to guide readers in an apprenticeship with Jesus recognizing that we follow Jesus to become like Jesus.”

“The Apprentice Series is based on a simple structure for producing change.. The first “element” is actually the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that enlivens all our efforts to follow Christ—including the other three components of transformation.

“The second area where change can happen is in transforming our narratives. Narratives are the stories we live by that give our life purpose and explanation. Often our narratives are at work in our lives without our knowing it. We have narratives about God, our self, others and so forth. Many of us have narratives about God that do not match the narratives that Jesus revealed. We cannot change our behavior until we change the narratives that guide us.

“One way to change our narratives is to engage in soul-training exercises, which makes up the third component of transformation. Each chapter includes a practice that helps the reader open to the Holy Spirit and begin replacing false narratives with the true narratives of Jesus. The exercises are often simple and usually counter-cultural. For example, the first exercise of The Good and Beautiful God is sleep, because when we sleep we are relinquishing our perceived control of life and inviting God to be God.

“The fourth and final component of transformation is community. We cannot change on our own, we need other people on the journey with us to encourage and challenge us.”

And of course, this fourth area is the focus of the third and final book.

There’s a good review of the most recent book here, as well as an overview of what’s in the second book.

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