Many, many moons ago, I read a book proposal that was submitted to Chalice Press through the Young Clergy Women’s Project. The proposed manuscript aimed to be a guide to spiritual living for young adults. The authors acknowledged the difference in the twenty-somethings (plus or minus five years) of today with their counterparts of previous generations. These young adults are more likely to form their own communities, to expect connection in the various areas of their lives, and to seek action that can make a serious difference in a world that they perceive as deeply interdependent.

I recommended that the book project go forward. Now I have the privilege of commending to you the finished project, Who’s Got Time? Spirituality for a Busy Generation. The authors, RevGals Amy Fetterman and Teri Peterson, have a great and unified voice that combines the realities of life with the promises of spiritual growth through a variety of embraceable disciplines.

This book approaches the seriousness of spiritual longing with an unparalleled sense of humor. It is not that the authors are diminishing the seeking of spirituality by making fun of it. Instead, they are cleverly exposing that being found by God is a joyful experience.

On seeking peace through being outdoors (and trying to garden):

“Where’s my freaking moment of zen?”  (111)

On understanding that our instincts for altruism must actually build a positive future, not just a moment of good:

“God’s dream for the world is not contained within our personal warm fuzzies.” (127)

On spending time with and on our bodies as a way of respecting and revering God’s creation:

“The only time negative self-talk is part of any of our spiritual traditions is when we have misunderstood them.” (28)

Each chapter tackles a specific area of spiritual discipline or growth. Fetterman and Peterson explain the significance of reading scripture, praying or meditating, resting, exercising, ritual or service. They tell of their own experiences. They offer quotations, citations, and examples that support their gentle persuasions. The amount of information can seem a little daunting when thumbing through the book. However, when one was is perusing the different chapters, the footnotes (humorous, anecdotal, and informative) all serve to underscore that the authors are not making this up as they go along.

Instead, these intrepid pastors have aggregated a set of ancient, contemporary, and timeless practices to give order to lives that seem chaotic and held together by Wifi and coffee. The authors offer a variety of suggestions for how to pursue reading the Bible. It might not be best to tackle the Bible on page one, they say, though it’s possible. Instead, read it out loud with friends, making liberal use of sound effects!

Another creative way to engage scripture stems from ancient Jewish practice. While it may be seen as sacrilegious by  some today, over the ages it has been a common practice to embellish on the sacred stories passed down to us. Fleshing out stories in our biblical canon, or even adding stories to fill in the gaps, is known as midrash in the Jewish tradition… That’s right, midrash is the most ancient form of fan fiction! (17)

Midrash as fan fiction- love it! This is but one example to demonstrate that this book offers real solutions to real spiritual seekers. It’s not fluff and it’s not a re-tread of something you’ve read before- published years ago. It is not for nothing that Fetterman and Peterson are obviously writing not just of their own experience, but out of many conversations with friends, parishioners, and colleagues.

We want to feel, and feel deeply. We want to be engaged with our minds, our spirits, and our bodies, not just going through the motions somebody hundreds of years ago made up. But here’s the twist in our narrative: “ritual” is not necessarily synonymous with “rote”. It is possible for us to engage in rituals, and even to create our own, as a way of organizing and making meaning of our life experiences. (51)

This book deals seriously with the realities of beings in Gen-X or Gen-Y or a Millennial or even a Baby Boomer. Nothing is what is was. Nothing is what it will be. Fetterman and Peterson have written a book to help the spiritual seeker who is looking to encounter holiness, in a variety of ways, right now.

This is a book you need to buy for Christmas. You know someone who would really like it. The new college graduate. A house-warming gift for a first apartment. The young adult leader in the congregation. The person who is comforted by “alternative” spiritual practices and feels guilty when admitting it. The young adult you know who just completed a significant 12-step milestone.

When I first saw the proposal for this book, I noted that I didn’t think I would enjoy such a book, but I knew people who would. I was half right. I know many people who would greatly enjoy this book, people of many different levels of spiritual experience, desire, and practice. What I missed out was this: I did enjoy and benefit from this book as well.

2 thoughts on “RevGalBookPals: Who’s Got Time

  1. When this first came out I wanted to read it but it was not available on KOBO. Just checked and it is now!!! so it is bought and added to my list of “Want to read”. Maybe a post-Christmas relaxer?????


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