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Living the Christian Year: Time to Inhabit the Story of God Paperback – August 27, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Gross's book comes with no expectation of familiarity with the concept of liturgical time, and he offers helpful background for readers who are newcomes to a church year calendar. A substantial, scripture-based approach to private devotion." (The Living Church, Winter 2010)

"A solid contribution on the liturgical year for ecclesial or worship-group resources." (Graham, Library Journal, January 2010)

"Only occasionally does a book come along which will become a steady companion in my own journey of discipleship. Bobby Gross has engagingly written that kind of book. It both points the way to a fuller understanding of God's great story in Christ, and simultaneously provides guidance and tools to help me weave my life into God's story as I enter the steady rhythms of the Christian calendar. I have never seen a book quite like this." (Dr. Stephen A. Hayner, professor of evangelism and church growth, Columbia Theological Seminary)

"Culture's daily story of noise, busyness, consumerism and competition is often the loudest shaping voice of our lives. It can influence choices more than a weekly or monthly dose of churchgoing does. Bobby Gross opens the possibility for another voice and another story to shape us on a daily basis. Living the Christian Year invites believers to live by the rhythms of God's redemption story. This lovely book hooks our daily life into the extraordinary beauty and usefulness of the liturgical year--a year spent in following the life of Jesus. I delight in a book that reveals how Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, Pentecost and Ordinary Time place our ordinary lives in the context of the most amazing story ever--the story that can guide us at all times and in all places." (Adele Calhoun, copastor, Redeemer Community Church and author of Spiritual Disciplines Handbook)

"Whether we know and believe it or not, we live in sacred time. The only time that is is created, given, sustained and re-created by God--time that God will one day fulfill. Living the Christian Year beckons us to lay hold of this reality, to richly dwell in the story that holds time together, and as we do so to practice the communion that holds God's people together in grace across time and around the globe. This is the biblical story out of which comes all true worship and justice." (Mark Labberton, author of The Dangerous Act of Worship)

"Bobby Gross has written a jewel of a book about the depth and riches of observing the Christian year. Christians in nonliturgical settings will be touched by his understanding, not to mention those who are already living the Christian feasts and seasons in liturgical churches. They, too, will gain insight to match their customary practice. This is a book to dip into and enjoy." (Emilie Griffin, author of Clinging and Doors into Prayer)

"Many devout Christian believers are unaware of the richness to be found in the Christian calendar year, with its high and low points, its celebrations, its times of self-examination and repentance, and even what is known as 'ordinary time.' Bobby Gross, who began to live the seasons of the Christian year as an adult, celebrates the story of Jesus' life through liturgy. This is a bountiful resource, thought-provoking, informative and motivational, showing how liturgy can help us in our deep need to pursue God and a holy life." (Luci Shaw, writer-in-residence, Regent College, and author of Water My Soul and Breath for the Bones)

"Beautiful in its gentleness and humility, this book is a gift to Christians of all communions and denominations, for it deals with our beginnings and the originating, sacred rhythms from which we all come. Only Bobby Gross could have so gracefully opened the church's liturgical calendar to all who wish to see, and only he could have laid so rich a feast of devotion as this for those who yearn to enter." (Phyllis Tickle, author of The Divine Hours)

Review

"Many devout Christian believers are unaware of the richness to be found in the Christian calendar year, with its high and low points, its celebrations, its times of self-examination and repentance, and even what is known as 'ordinary time.' Bobby Gross, who began to live the seasons of the Christian year as an adult, celebrates the story of Jesus' life through liturgy. This is a bountiful resource, thought-provoking, informative and motivational, showing how liturgy can help us in our deep need to pursue God and a holy life."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (August 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830835202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830835201
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #256,539 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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A good basic introduction to the major portions of the church year. No single book on the subject covers everything one would want but this has a nice, basic mix of history, devotional ideas and suggested readings for each season. One unique aspect of this book is that the author came from a very non-liturgical background and it's interesting for those in similar situations to read about how such a person came to embrace and deeply appreciate the liturgical year not as an empty "tradition" but as a vital part of spiritual life.
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I don't know why I haven't shared my review of this book sooner. I've owned the book since it was first published in August of 2009 (actually, I bought it from Amazon.com in mid-September 2009), but I bought it almost as soon as it was available. The reason I take the time to write the review now is because of the cumulative effect and influence this book, along with a few others, has had with shaping my Christian spirituality.

Although I have espoused Christian ideals most of my life, my church tradition has never practiced the church calendar (Liturgical Year) faithfully; consequently, my first real introduction to the liturgical calendar was back in 2007 when I purchased a copy of Thomas Oden's Ancient Christian Devotional. Following this first elementary introduction and remedial practice year (for me), I started to self-educate and learn more about this ancient discipline of living the Christian year.

When 2009 arrived, and I started my search for Liturgical Year devotional material and other resources I could use in my education, Living the Christian Year by Bobby Gross appeared near the top of my Amazon search. I appreciated and respected a number of the voices offering endorsements for this book, so I purchased it. I can report that this has become one of my favorite book purchases from the past three years.

Bobby calls this book an introduction and devotional guide and this is an honest and faithful representation of the book. Those words; however, do not share the richness and overflowing experience that Living the Christian Year offers to the person who hungers for a deeper and more meaningful understanding to the Story of God lived out daily in their life throughout the year.

There are a total of eight chapters in Living the Christian Year.
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Format: Paperback
This book provides an excellent means to synthesize one's prayer life with the liturgical calendar of the church year. The topics selected for each week are picked in order to focus on the church season, and the biblical readings are designed to fit with that topic and are often readings in the revised common lectionary for that week. Other than during Christmas and Easter, it is easy for Christians to lose track of the seasons of the church year. This book provides an outstanding resource to focus one's prayer life on the liturgical calendar throughout the year, and to apply the teachings and readings from the liturgical calendar and scripture to our daily lives.
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I bought this book in August 2009 after reading Scot McKnight's "Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read Your Bible," and after spending a year in Phyllis Tickle's Divine Hours boo,ks for praying the seasons. Coming from a Baptist background it was interesting and a little difficult at first, to grasp the beauty of set readings.

By the time I bought this book I was two years into my study and, as an artist I decided to sketch my experience with this book. It ended up being a book unto itself. Liturgical Sketches. Now I am trying to figure out what to do with it and how to market it. My strength is not marketing or figuring out how to get a book published. Oh well. Maybe someday it will happen.

This is a good book. I enjoyed the prayers, four simple prayers for each week. I read the history of the seasons and found that I know more about the why than a lot of people who grew up in this tradition. I did not read many of the author's explanations of the scripture as I did not want his interpretation to affect my art. I would read the passage, wait and then put it on paper. The final sketch incorporated some aspect of each passage. The drawings are a little raw and that is why I call them sketches. I intended it to be an adult bible study coloring book.

If you are new to this traditionnthis is a good book.
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This book provides an engaging introduction into the historical cycle of the church year, inviting readers to become part of the larger story and rhythm of the Christian faith. I appreciate how Gross invites his readers to explore sacred time with explanations of and weekly devotions in the three cycles of the year: the cycle of light (Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany); the cycle of life (Lent, the Paschal Triduum, and the Easter season); and the cycle of love in the season of ordinary time. I used this book for Lenten study with college students and we all found it a most meaningful and educational adventure.
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My daughter recommended this to me and it has been a great study for Lent along with my regular Bible reading! Very inspirational at so many levels. Parents must read as encouragement for establishing family devotions!
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