Soul Work (book review)

You probably think that being a monk is a full-time occupation, right? But what if you could learn from the most committed monks, without actually moving to a monastery? That’s exactly what Randy Harris shows us in Soul Work: Confessions of a Part-Time Monk.

I’ll admit that I was hooked more by the subtitle of this book. After all, whoever heard of a part-time monk. Randy Harris set out to find out more about the deep spiritual walk for which so many monks and hermits are renowned. In the beginning of the book, Randy states that there was something he disagreed with in almost every monastery or hermitage he visited. But he culled through all they had to offer, and presented the best practices in Soul Work.

In short, there is much to learn from the unhurried, quiet, peaceful, and deeply-abiding lives of those who separate themselves from general society. What a huge contrast with our frantic, noisy, stressful, superficial lives. Randy shares what he learned about…

  • Deeper intimacy with God
  • A more refreshed outlook on life
  • A life infused with hope
  • More meaningful prayer times
  • Greater levels of obedience
  • God-honoring humility
  • A more satisfying relationship with God

But we won’t pursue any of these things unless we are truly dissatisfied with our current spiritual level. As Randy wrote,

We do not move in our spiritual lives until we experience some dissatisfaction with what we’ve got. …The first step toward living an intimate life with God is to realize our own desperation, and that desperation comes largely by developing some sense of God’s holiness.

This is not a casual read. It’s a book that forced me to confront how much more of God I really wanted in my life, and if I was willing to make the necessary changes to achieve greater intimacy. I was challenged by Soul Work, and I think you will be too.

I am an ACU Press book reviewer.

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