Living Close to God by Gene Edwards
Never forget that even those among us who are spiritually dense have a wonderful chance of knowing Christ in the depths.
Author Gene Edwards saves this pithy promise until the very end of the brief guide, though it would have served well in the introductory pages. In an everyman’s spiritual disciplines guide, Edwards attempts to remove the layers of challenge and mysticism that often accompany the Christian’s attempt to deepen the bond between Savior and self. On many levels Living Close to God succeeds in this objective, but on others the authors suggested practices don’t seem to bear fruit.
Edwards strives first to change the nature of a core spiritual practice, prayer. Laying a foundation that paints the average prayer as a one-way list of petitions, the author transforms the 23rd psalm from a memory exercise to a personal communiqué to God. He suggests that by personalizing the words we transform our prayer from impersonal to personal and feeling the presence of Christ in the words and, by extension, in real conversation with us. Nothing complicated, nothing too mystical. The simplicity of Edwards ideas is immediately applicable and can be beneficial for Christians who have tried other, more complex methods of deepening their faith.
Each of the tools that the author includes has but a single objective, a greater awareness of the presence of God. Much like Brother Lawrence, Edwards is rooted in reality of a workaday life. He strives to find “hooks” throughout the day which serve as reminders of God’s intimate immediacy and ways in which the spiritually aware Christian can partake of that communion. These tools are packed into a short book that can be read quickly. The organization could stand some improvement as the chapters that are only a few pages in length seem more like random thoughts that the author wanted to include rather than parts of a cohesive whole.
I am grateful to Waterbrook Press who provided this book for review.