There was an American writer on spirituality called Dallas Willard. He, from the brief snippets I’ve actually read from him, was a profound man who wrote many deep utterances about life with God. My excellent brother has quoted from him and has urged me to read his books many times. I confess I haven’t. They require a level of concentration that I haven’t been able to achieve. One day I hope to.
Until then I am grateful that John Ortberg sets himself up as a self confessed ‘Dallas for Dummies’. He distills stuff Dallas has said and makes it accessible for the sleep deprived and those in need of shorter sentences. He recalls small quotes that he’s heard over the years that are anything but soundbites. The one that most sticks in my mind is the quote ‘ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life’ as an answer to the question of how to stay spiritually healthy. The only answer he gave. Sounds like a pithy statement but is one of those ones that goes deep. John Ortberg in another book goes on to see what that might look like – choosing the longest supermarket queue is one of the examples he gives. Mental. But there may just be something in it.
Anyway that’s what John does. He makes Dallas a bit more accessible. Thus in the last week I’ve been able to read through his latest book Soul Keeping. A birthday present I received this year from the excellent Americans.
It’s really a tribute to Dallas and the impact of his life on those around him whilst reflecting on the what taking care of the soul is all about. It’s a good read. Mainly because it reminded me that I have a soul, that it functions best and is at peace when it is centred on God and there are many things to watch out for that cause my soul to be fractured. I’ve loved the reminders that what matters is that I rest in the reality that I am God’s child before anything else. My character matters before any of the stuff I do and there is nothing more important than good soul care as our souls are eternal. It made me look again at some of my actions that in effect were ripping apart my soul and gave me cause for hope in my soul’s maker to carry on working in me and giving me all the satisfaction I need in this life.
A pretty good read. Thanks to the lovely Deb and Keith for the present and to John Ortberg writing in such an accessible yet profound way to help this sleep deprived pregnant lady find some good reminders of reality in this waiting time.