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Country: Europe, DE, Germany
I received a review copy of Common Prayer from Zondervan, and I have LOVED incorporating this book into the rhythms of life.
The book opens with several pages of exposition on what liturgy is and what sets this book apart from other books. You should know from the outset that this is definitely not the traditional Book of Common Prayer. I was puzzled when I saw a few one-star reviews for it who felt misled by the title. I think the subtitle is very clear - this is part of the series of books created by Shane Claiborne for believers who have joined alongside him in living out our faith in radical ways.
In answering the question, "Why Common Prayer?" the authors talk address the fact that there is certainly much to be said for the individual intimacy each of us have with God; Christ Himself often retreated for moments away from the crowds and His disciples in order to reconnect with Abba Father in an intimate way.
They go on, however, to say:
Just because our prayer lives are personal does not mean they are private. Many of us have grown up in a culture where rampant individualism has affected our prayer lives. When we think about prayer, our imaginations may be limited to evening devotions or a daily "quiet time" with God. As wonderful as these times of solitude can be, prayer moves us beyond what we can do on our own.
Then they remind us of the power of the Scripture that states "when two or three of you gather in My Name, there I will be with you." Further, God has "lived in community from eternity as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." We were made in the image of community and for community. And that is why Common Prayer.
So, on to the "ordinary radicals" focus: What this team of authors has done is to research and collect liturgy and tradition and meaningful moments and persons from the past 2000 years. Can you even imagine? And true to Shane Claiborne's calling and ministry, there is indeed a special focus in the liturgy on how we - One Body, One Church - are to go about administering love, grace, peace, and justice in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And that's what I genuinely love about this book. Growing up Baptist, I was never taught about the rich tradition of the church, of the saints and the Saints, of notable followers of Christ from the first church in Jerusalem to present day. And I certainly could never have imagined how a daily liturgy could ignite so much inspiration to action on behalf of Christ!
The book is set up in several sections: Evening Prayers (with a special emphasis on confession), Morning Prayers (the bulkiest reading and prayer time of the day - includes several Scripture readings and a short devotional on an inspiring figure from history), and Midday Prayers (a moment to pause, pray, and refocus on our purpose in the day). Additionally, there is a section for Occasional Prayers with prayers for occasions ranging from Blessing of the Land to The Death of Someone Killed in the Neighborhood and all manner of things in between, as well as prayer for specific areas of home and work.
The book begins at Advent, the New Year of the church calendar. Each month explores a theme of new monasticism and throughout the pages, there are notes and explanations. Each month closes with action steps encouraging us in "Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers: A Few Ideas" relating back to the theme of the month.
Incredibly, all of the prayers are available online! Clicking on Common Prayer's website will take you first to the Morning Prayer for today. You can view yesterday's morning prayer and tomorrow's as well. All of the Evening Prayers, the Midday Prayer, and the Occasional Prayers are there as well. (This is why I had the confidence to choose Common Prayer as our liturgy in observing 40 Days of Community - everyone will have access to the daily liturgy to share together!)
So, why buy the book? I've given much thought to this. I will say that personally, even if I had not received a review copy from Zondervan, I would still buy this for our home library. My phone is old-fashioned and I don't have internet access on it. I like the idea that I can be completely rooted in the rhythms of the day that the liturgy provides without using a screen. I like the feel of a book in my hands. I feel even more connected to the community of ordinary radicals observing, speaking, and praying the same liturgy that I am when I flip through the pages of this book.
However, I love the fact that Shane and those at Simple Way realize that this is a technology-driven culture and they have lovingly arranged for all of this to be available to anyone with access to the internet!
Throughout the pages and prayers in Common Prayer, there is significant and consistent emphasis on our unity in Christ. No matter our denominational divisions, regardless of our theological squabbles, those who follow Christ are united in Him. Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals is ecumenical, inspiring, and motivating. It is not your grandfather's liturgy (although he might like it! You never know!). It is just what I needed, and I am thankful for this gift from Shane and the other writers and contributors.
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When I was pregnant with my son 5 years ago, I wanted one of these strollers so bad... I had bought 2 different travel systems, both I HATED the strollers! The Evenflo and Graco brand strollers are WAY too heavy, and too big! PERIOD! Finally, when my son was 1, I got one of these, it was used, but my friend knew I wanted one, so she gave me hers. I have read reviews saying this stroller wont last. I LAUGH at that. I live in Hawaii, where it is hot 100% of the time all year long. Meaning, plastic made things can warp, shrink, or just bust because of this constant heat. However, I just sold my used stroller on CL about 6 months ago, and saw the lady who bought it, and it's still looking GREAT! What does this mean?! It is AMAZING quality. Italian made! The thing I LOVED the most about this stroller was the fact that you can take EVERYTHING off and wash it all, VERY easily. NO screw driver or other device needed where as every other stroller Ive seen you have to use one to wash EVERTHING! Not a problem with this, and it all washes beautifully. I can see the #1 thing people think when they see this, the COST and WHY is this so expensive and is it worth it?! YES it is! Think about it this way, the money you're going to WASTE buying 3 different strollers you can SAVE and just buy this. Most parents buy a bulky stroller at first not knowing better, than switch to a umbrella, or compact lighter version. BAD DEAL, cannot go FLAT for your kid to sleep! I have litterally had every single stroller brand known to man, from Combi, to Bob! This is seriously the BEST! I have taken it on several trips on airplanes where I have gate-checked it, and it's always been fine. People are amazed watching you fold it, because it folds up SO neat and compact eventhough it acts like a full size stroller. My son loved this stroller and used to easily fall asleep, and actually LIKED this stroller. Compared to every other one, he complained and screamed inside of it. This one, was his favorite, and mine too. I love the front tray how there is a cup holder that the cup doesnt fall out of! We have used this stroller for an all day excursion at least a few times, it fits perfectly in any trunk, because it's so compact. LOVE IT! My son used this until he was 4, he was a big kid, he is now 4 1/2 at 45lbs and 42inches tall! We are now expecting baby number 2, and as soon as I know what we're having, I will be back to get another one of these since I know this will be the only stroller we will need!
Be prepared - you will not be able to put this book down!!! One of the best parts of this book, is that it picks up exactly where book one left off - no gap. You'll get more attached to the characters because it's written so well. I really enjoyed this book, it was hard to put down and had a good pace. It didn't have any "lags" where you're feeling like the author is just expanding the number of pages in their book, thank you for that Veronica Roth!
I'd heard lots of great things about this book prior to picking it up and I must say that it is a very compelling and memorable story. At times you feel absolutely vulnerable because of the helplessness of the Zeitoun's situation whereas other moments you find yourself comforted by the family's strong fondness and normality.
I had assumed that the book would be quite a depressing read but it definitely wasn't. It exposes the broken qualities of the American legal system and the injustice that occurs in the very land that was founded on the basis of seeking freedom and equality for all. As Americans, we are forced to delve deeper and question as to whether our judicial and legal systems are serving the purpose they were meant to serve.
This is a story that would have otherwise remained untold if it wasn't for the courage and talented writing abilities of Dave Eggers.