The Heartbeat of God: Finding the Sacred in the Middle of Everything challenges readers to reconsider their own life of faith in response to a single challenging question: "Will our hearts respond with strengthened beat, in tune with God's own heartbeat, sending more life out into the world?" (p.xvi) The book is divided into five parts ("Connecting with the Margins," "Connecting Faith with Public Life," "Connecting with Creation," "Connecting with the Heart of God," and "Healing Broken Connections) each of which contains four to ten brief chapters focused around a single practical idea. To ensure readers continue to struggle with the content, each chapter concludes with a question or questions for reflection that invite personal introspection and application of the material.
While Katharine Jefferts Schori speaks primarily of The Episcopal Church, as one would expect given her current position, she also includes numerous remarks that indicate similar work to what she describes in her illustrations is being undertaken by those affiliated with numerous other denominations. Further, she speaks about new possibilities that are emerging as the larger Christian community continues to evolve, "Our job as a church is to stay and engage the questions, to keep pushing the boundaries and to always remain open to the new things that God has in store for us" (p.185).
Relevant, practical, and actionable this book is well suited for personal study. When accompanied by the free downloadable 83 page Leaders's Guide by Jenifer Gamber, it becomes an incredibly rich resource for small groups. Those seeking to engage the material alone or in community should do so at their own risk, realizing that it has the power to change the way you live by resetting your spiritual cardiac rhythm to that of God's own heart.
In this book Schori provides a voice of hope amid a time of fear and anxiety. Beginning with a grounding in the vision of God's kingdom described in both the Hebrew and Christian scripture, Schori quickly moves to telling the stories of faithful people who, in innovative ways, meet the needs of the poor among us, an environment in peril, the homeless, the hungry and even pets who also need food. Readers will find her writing clear and compelling and perhaps hear their own call to serving the needs of their communities.
Bishop Jefferts Schori is one of the main reasons I came back to the Episcopal Church. I appreciate her focus on the love those around us, the environment, and those in the most need. Her wisdom is refreshing!
This is my favorite book of Her Grace's, and possibly my favorite book of all time. Well done, Bishop. I feel so blessed as an Episcopalian to be able to call Bishop Katharine our Presiding Bishop. She is smart, caring, wise, brave, and loves her flock so much, and this is obvious in her writing.
Many readers are familiar with the words of Scripture from their youth. Bishop Jefferts-Schori enlivens them by building the connections with our own lived experience. Reading her thirty some reflections was like hearing the heart of God responding to the morning paper from my doorstep. When I read tomorrows headlines, I want to ask, "How does the God of Scripture feel about this story, and what would God have me do today?" Won't you join me?
Everything that Bishop Schori writes about is full of wisdom. She needs to be some type of political and economic adviser. While I enjoyed her first two books better, this book was concise, timely, and a great read. I underline and write in the margins as I read- what she says is that brilliant. The book is divided into five parts: CONNECTING WITH THE MARGINS, CONNECTING FAITH WITH PUBLIC LIFE, CONNECTING WITH CREATION, CONNECTING WITH THE HEART OF GOD, AND HEALING BROKEN CONNECTIONS. There is a "For Reflection" statement at the end of each chapter. Some of my favorite quotes include, "None of us can hide behind the technical work and leave the ethical work to other experts." "We don't insist that doubt is a sin; we see doubt as necessary to growth." Her ideas are fresh and exciting in these changing times in the Anglican Communion.