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Breaking Old Rhythms: Answering the Call of a Creative God Paperback – February 25, 2013
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"Spoken-word artist Amena Brown's book, Breaking Old Rhythms, reminds us that God calls us beyond the patterns and habits we've established and into a new way of living and breathing and being." (Relevant Magazine, May/June 2013)
"Amena Brown has crafted an original and powerful look at the rhythms that make up our lives and the one who sets the beat for us to follow. . . . this would be an excellent book for those in the church, both young adults and older, disenchanted disciples, who are seeking answers to questions of identity and purpose." (Todd Edmondson, Englewood Review of Books, Lent 2013)
". . . a refreshing read from a voice that is rarely included in faith and motivational circles." (Publishers Weekly, February 11, 2013)
"Sculpting and painting words into eloquent and raw poetry seems to be the breath of Amena Brown. Breaking Old Rhythms is a call for all who find themselves stuck in the mundane, drawing us to risk, push and open our full potential--all the while realizing we have and always will be completely seen and completely loved by the One who started the creating." (Lisa Gungor, singer-songwriter)
"Amena Brown uses words to fill the soul like music. In Breaking Old Rhythms she creatively explores the idea that we all have a life rhythm, and that God is often found in the most unexpected places." (Michael Gungor, singer-songwriter)
"Breaking Old Rhythms reminds us of God's passion to rewrite the soundtracks of our lives with faithful, redemptive love. Warm, poignant and deeply soulful, Amena Brown invites us into her story, showing us how to let go and embrace God. Spoken word indeed." (Jo Saxton, author of More Than Enchanting)
"Amena Brown's soulful, joyful, beautiful voice is a true gift to anyone who has the privilege of hearing it. This work is no exception, and I found myself so refreshed by the unique way Amena shares her personal journey and passion for Jesus. This book is inspiring, encouraging and challenging--a true wake-up call to the highest end of becoming who God has created you to be. Amena is not willing to settle for old rhythms or worn-out, hopeless patterns, and refuses to let anyone else to settle either. Poetry, song lyrics, stories, photos, ideas, joy, sadness and deep imagery make for a beautiful work written, so that by the end you feel as if you know both Amena and yourself that much better. This book was a joy to read!" (Jeanne Stevens, lead pastor, Soul City Church, Chicago)
"Through her beautiful style and thoughtful expression, Amena artfully fractured my structured rhythm to challenge me to consider a new perspective of God's work in my life and faith." (Jenni Catron, executive director of Cross Point Church and coauthor of Just Lead!)
Amena fuses Gods truth with the reality of the rhythms of life. . . . [She] challenges us to not settle for less than the beauty of what God creates us each to be. (Dan Kimball, from the foreword)
"Amena Brown is a gift--a breathtaking blend of poet, prophet and pioneer. Her life and words will bless your soul." (Margaret Feinberg, www.margaretfeinberg.com, author of Scouting the Divine and Wonderstruck)
"As a poet and a dancer, Brown sets about exploring creative ways for finding and moving to the rhythm that God creates all around us. . . . A lot of thought, time, and experience have gone into this small book. Brown shows her heart and her story for all to read, and it makes this book very moving and endearing." (David Osborne, Transpositions, February 22, 2016)
About the Author
Amena Brown is a poet, speaker, journalist and event host from Atlanta, Georgia. The author of a chapbook and two spoken word CDs, Brown has performed and spoken at events across the nation, such as The RightNow Conference, Creativity World Forum, Catalyst Conference, Chick-fil-A Leadercast, the 2008 National Poetry Slam Competition, and has toured with Gungor. She and her husband, Matt "DJ Opdiggy" Owen travel and perform "God.Rhyme.Reason." a presentation of poetry, monologue and deejaying on doubt, faith and hope. Brown is also journalist for numerous blogs, magazines and newspapers in the Atlanta area.
Dan Kimball (MA, Western Seminary) is the pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, California, and currently working toward his Doctor of Ministry from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. He is the author of several books published by Zondervan including The Emerging Church (2003), Emerging Worship (2004) and They Like Jesus But Not the Church (2007). He also contributed to a book by the late Robert Webber in 2007 titled Listening to Beliefs of Emerging Churches (2007, Zondervan).
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The call to dive began to make sense as I started reading, for these are deep waters indeed; but what a joy to swim in!
Brown shares in a voice that vibrates with poetic rhythm slicing through to find the truth of life and love and God. She writes:
"We are like instruments in God's orchestra. That means if we want to be a part of the symphony, we have to learn to follow God's beat. We are like bones in a body--growing, stretching, discovering and sometimes breaking. God's rhythm is surgical, breaking, healing and mending where we have grown crooked. We are like trees, extending our branches toward the light. God's rhythm is the post he ties us to, to make sure we grow straight, with roots growing deep into the soil."
I found my own reading rhythm interrupted by the need to add highlighting to my Kindle version again and again, or to take time to type quotes into my Facebook status.
Yes, it is that good.
There are so many more passages I want to share with you, but instead I'll just urge you to grab this book for your own library. You'll return to the words many times.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
In short, BREAKING OLD RHYTHMS is about allowing God to set the time and direction --- lead the dance, be the DJ, tend and mend the broken heart. "If God is a DJ, we are all songs. Not only do we all have a rhythm, but we've also all had breaks: disappointments, pain, loss, successes, failures. DJing hinges on two things: the break and the timing. God orchestrates both extremely well. He takes every break you've ever experienced and mixes it with the tune of hope and the rhythm of his sovereignty to create the beautiful mix of story that will be your life."
Many of Brown's personal stories would be of special interest to young single women with professional and romantic ambitions. In the opening chapter, "The Blessing of Irritation," she's chafing the bit in a boring, seemingly nowhere job, sitting in a corporate cubicle. In chapter two, "The Rhythm of Fighting," she makes a move, breaks free from her job, but also takes miscalculated steps, makes regrettable moves, and doesn't foresee hard times. "It took breaking up, going broke and moving out for me to learn a valuable lesson about breaking an old pattern: prepare yourself."
Time and again, Brown breaks a misguided pattern or habit --- with seemingly increased maturity in allowing God to direct her steps. In a rushing world, she has learned to seek out the "interlude" of peace and quiet --- yet another metaphor hooked to the poetic/rhythmic theme (in chapter seven, titled "Breathing Room").
Brown's book isn't for the uptight, maybe not even for readers who carry a highlighter to mark theological high points. But I'll end where I started: it's refreshing. The pages inspire you to want to get up and take a risk in some part of your life, in faith, with hope for a bright future.
Reviewed by Evelyn Bence
Two of her core ideas connected with me on this reading ...
The way we live our lives can be well summed-up by the concept of rhythm. We all have a rhythm. Rhythm is powerful. Even God has a rhythm. Day by day and week by week. Life goes by in rhythm
Answering God's call looks like adapting our rhythm to His rhythm. We have to make a break with our old rhythm and jump in with Him. And His rhythm begins to shape the way we live our lives. But in order to do this, we have to make a break.
Breaking Old Rhythms is a quick and strong read. Definitely worth checking out.
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"Sculpting and painting words into eloquent and raw poetry
seems to be the breath of Amena Brown.Read more