Did you read reading Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren? If so, you are invited to join the conversation!
Here’s how the online book club works: Just read the book at your own convenience, and then add your thoughts to the comments section. You can respond to any of these discussion questions—or just say what you thought of the book.
As a bonus, I’ll give away a free book to one lucky commenter!
I received this book as a gift when my son was just a few weeks old, and as it turned out, it was perfect for someone whose pace of life had just altered drastically. I had made an abrupt shift from days full of working and writing and serving and getting together with friends to days where the potential highlight was taking a shower.
For someone who is a big fan of crossing things off a to-do list, it quickly became clear that I needed to redefine what it looked like to follow Jesus when large swaths of my time were spent changing diapers, feeding a baby, and deciding how much spit-up on my shirt necessitated a clothing change. This book spoke into some of my biggest questions and wrestlings in that moment.
Discussion #1: Changing the World
Everywhere we look, someone seems to be changing the world. Someone is planting crops using sustainable agricultural practices; someone is rescuing women from sex trafficking; someone is helping small business owners in Kenya. This is all really good news, but sometimes it feels like a lot of pressure for a person whose main task for this season is to keep a small human being alive.
The book made me ponder this question: What if God is primarily calling us to ordinary, everyday faithfulness, not some kind of heroic Christianity? Yes, there are times when he asks us to big things for him, but truth be told, even most of those heroic things consist of a series of small acts of obedience.
“God is forming us into a new people. And the place of that formation is in the small moments of today.”
Do you ever struggle with the mundane moments of life, wishing you could do something grander? How would it shift your perspective to know that God is using our small, everyday tasks to make us into the people he wants us to be?
Discussion #2: The Divine in the Ordinary
I appreciated Tish Harrison Warren’s perspective that there is no distinction between the sacred and the secular, as we often imagine. We tend to compartmentalize the spiritual part of our lives, and we fret when it gets squeezed by other urgent things.
This book reminds us that we don’t have to wait for set-aside moments to connect with God; we can meet him in the ordinary moments, like sitting in traffic, thanking him for our leftovers, or talking with a friend.
“Small bits of our day are profoundly meaningful because they are the site of our worship. The crucible of our formation is in the monotony of our daily routines.”
In what ordinary moments do you tend to connect with God? In what ordinary moments would you like to be more aware of his presence?
Discussion #3: Learning to Be Beloved
One of my favorite chapters is chapter 1, about learning our identity as God’s beloved. When we can grasp that reality, it frames the entire liturgy of our days. We can better recognize and bask in God’s presence in the small moments when we remember that we belong to him and that he delights in us.
“We are marked from our first waking moment by an identity that is given to us by grace: an identity that is deeper and more real than any other identity we will don that day.”
What was your favorite chapter? Was there any story or topic that particularly resonated with you?
Rating: How many stars would you give this book (out of 5)?
I would give this book five stars, in part because it was the right book at the right time. I appreciated the way the author organized the book over the course of a day. It sounds like a simple premise, but the thoughts contained in each chapter are profound, and beautifully written.
I appreciated the reminder that the little things matter. And incidentally, when those ordinary moments are stacked one upon the other, they will end up changing the world—and us.
How many stars would you give this book?
I am glad to have the book club back. I love reading different things than I would ordinarily pick up. This book was a pleasant surprise. I expected it to be bland and basic. It was anything but bland. I loved the comparison of our ordinary to the liturgy inherent in the Word. I particularly liked the chapter about eating leftovers. It gave great perspective on the idea of eating as a basic need as well as our need to be nourished spiritually. I would like to connect with God in some of the “wasted” moments like driving or waiting in line. I have begun to pray during those moments or be mindful of the words to the songs on the radio. One quote I love is “Habits shape our desires.” Habitually choosing what is right will naturally feel good and spill out to all areas of our life. Make a habit of seeing God in everything.
Nancy, I’m so glad you enjoyed the book! That’s a great quote about habits shaping our desires. And you’re right…this was a good reminder that “ordinary” doesn’t have to mean “boring”!
I totally forgot about getting this book to read for the book club this month. I have to get it ordered! Sounds like it would fit in well with my life right now, since I was just asked the other day what I like to do for fun…and I thought about that…and realized how “boring” my life must seem when most of my time is taken up by taking care of a household and the people that fill it. Haha. This book can’t come soon enough! 🙂
I hope I didn’t give any spoilers, Jennifer, but I think you’ll like this one!
Kristen Joy Wilks says
OK, I finished “League of the Dastardly Dreadfuls” and jumped back into this. Yes, I am easily distracted by books my children pick up at the library. I was struck by chapter 3 about brushing teeth. Especially the part where she took a moment to step back from the worship of using a keen mind to explore the awesomeness of God and looked at her friend’s special needs daughter who could not talk. How does this little one worship God? How do her own young children worship God? Is there a beauty in worshiping through the correct use of the body that God gave us? Brushing teeth and giving a hug, exercise and eating and dance. I spent 3 days sleeping on the couch in the cardiac ward next to my husband. In response, the man who never diets lost 45 pounds and is carefully caring for the body God gifted him. He is a camp director and was better able to play with his kids and serve the staff and children at camp this summer, all because of the care he gave to his body. Is this worship? It is certainly honoring to God and helpful for all who love him and want him around longer. So many good thoughts! Hopefully, I will be able to check in again once I actually finish. But I figured I should say something while I was thinking of it!
What great thoughts about your husband’s care for his body as a means of worship. And you’re right…I’ll never look at brushing my teeth the same again!
Kristen Joy Wilks says
Oh, my goodness! I was looking back at past books and see that you read about someone lost on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail). We live right by the Washington segment of the PCT and many of our favorite hikes intersect with it. It is super fun to be going on a short day hike and come across some interesting (and yes, a bit grungy) person and ask how long they have been hiking. This happened last Friday (August 17) and we met a man who started in Mexico and had been on the trail since April! He only had 200 some miles to go. Wow, I bet there are all sorts of spiritual lessons packed into that. What an interesting book.
Congratulations to Jennifer, the winner of the FREE BOOK! Jennifer, I will contact you separately about getting the book to you.
Thank you so much! I’m really looking forward to reading this book.