Survival Guide For the Soul: How to Flouish Spiritually in a World That Pressures Us to Achieve
: What keeps us from flourishing in our spiritual lives is a neglect of the inner life of the soul. And more and more today, this neglect is driven by our ambition to accomplish something big outside ourselves. We live...
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What keeps us from flourishing in our spiritual lives is a neglect of the inner life of the soul. And more and more today, this neglect is driven by our ambition to accomplish something big outside ourselves. We live in a society that pressures us to achieve professionally, socially, and through the constant acquisition of material possessions. Drawing on a wide range of sources including scripture, church history, psychology, and neuroscience, as well as a rich variety of stories from his own life, Ken Shigematsu demonstrates how the gospel redeems our desires and reorders our lives. He offers fresh perspective on how certain spiritual practices help orient our lives so that our souls can flourish in the midst of a demanding, competitive society. And he concludes with a liberating and counter-cultural definition of true greatness.
This book will appeal to anyone who longs to experience a deeper relationship with Christ in the midst of the daily pressures to succeed, as well as to those on the borderlands of faith seeking to transcend the human tendency to define ourselves by our production and success.
Ken Shigematsu serves as the Senior Pastor of Tenth Avenue Alliance Church in Vancouver, Canada. Since 1996, Tenth Avenue has grown from 175 people to over 2,000 in weekly attendance. Before entering full-time ministry, Ken worked for the Sony Corporation in Tokyo, and he frequently draws on both eastern and western leadership philosophies in his writing and speaking. In January 2013, Ken received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, given by the Governor General of Canada to Canadians in recognition for outstanding contribution to the country. Ken also serves as a trustee for World VisiA
- :introductioni Begin The Book By Describing How We Face Various Forces That Threaten Our Souls In A Society That Pressures Us To Achieve. I Then Reflect On The Pressure I Have Felt To Excel As A Student, In The Corporate World, And As A Pastor.chapter 1: The Divided Self This Chapter Focuses On How We Have Various Desires Which At Times Are At Odds With Each Other. I Illustrate How The Desire To Succeed And Produce Manifests Itself In Students, Working Professionals, As Well As People Who Are Conscious Of Their Body Image. Drawing Upon Both Scripture And Psychology, I Demonstrate That When We Are Preoccupied With Success We Will Be Less Happy, But If We Seek A Rich Inner Life We Will Be Not Only Happier, But Flourish Spiritually. Chapter 2: How The Gospel Heals Usi Begin This Chapter Recalling My Visit To The Nuclear War Museum In Hiroshima, Japan. I Show How Exposure To Nuclear Radioactivity Undermined The Physical Well-being Of The City And Its People; In Similar Fashion, What I Term The “radioactivity Of Sin” Also Distorts Our Desires. I Explain That Just As The Planets Of Our Solar System Move In Ordered Rotation Around The Sun, So When The Son Of God Is At The Center Of Our Lives, Our Desires Find Their Proper Orbit. Drawing On The Examples Of St. Augustine And My Own Educationally Ambitious Mother, I Show How The Gospel Transforms And Heals Our Desires.chapter 3: Holy Habitsin This Chapter I Show How Spiritual Practices Shape Us So That We Don’t Pursue Achievement Simply To Validate Ourselves But To Bring Glory To God And Serve Others Well. This Part Of The Book Explores How Spiritual Disciplines Can Help Us Experience God’s Love Deeply So That We Live From A Place Of Approval, Rather Than For Approval. I Also Describe A Way Of Life That Helps Us Ride Our Ambitions Rather Than Being Ridden And Ruined By Them.chapter 4: Sabbathin This Chapter I Focus On How Sabbath Frees Us From Our Tendency To Validate Ourselves Through Our Productivity And Success. Sabbath Liberates Us From The Need To Define Ourselves By What We Do. It Helps Us Understand That We Have Value Simply Because We Are Beloved Sons And Daughters Of God. The Crucial, But Oft-neglected Practice Of Sabbath Enables Us To Live Not Just By The Sweat Of Our Brow, But The “grace Of Manna Falling All Around Us.”chapter 5: Silent Meditationin This Chapter I Show How Silent Meditation Can Help Us Overcome Feeling Too Busy And Distracted. Using Scripture, I Clarify That Meditation Is Not Some New Age Practice, But Profoundly Biblical. Using My Own Experience As Well As Findings From Neuroscience, I Illustrate How Meditation Is Good For Our Souls And Rewires Our Brains, Helping Us Become More Present To God And To The People Around Us. Using A Metaphor Of Sailing, I Show How Silent Contemplation Can Simultaneously Make Us Aware Of The Garbage On The Water Of Our Lives While Also Opening Our Eyes To The Great Beauty In Our Lives That We Might Otherwise Miss.chapter 6: Simplicitythis Chapter Begins By Showing That Neuroscience Confirms That Material Objects Do Bring Us A Measure Of Pleasure As Dopamine Is Released In Our Brain. But This Happiness Is Fleeting. In Contrast, I Show How Jesus Brings Us A Deeper And Lasting Joy. I Point Out How Jesus Was The Only Person Who Could Have Determined His Net Worth Before Entering The World, Yet Chose To Live A Life Of Genuine Simplicity. Thus, A “perfect Life” Isn’t Necessarily One Of Great Material Affluence. Using Personal Examples, I Demonstrate How When Christ Fills Our Souls, We Desire Less And Find We Need Fewer Things And Can Live A Simpler And More Joyful Life.chapter 7: Servanthoodthis Chapter Begins With Examples Of How I Sought To Climb The Ladder Of Success. As A Young Adult, I Envisioned Working Both In The Corporate World And Then In Vocational Christian Ministry. Using The Example Of Jesus Washing The Disciples’ Feet, I Show How True Greatness Was Defined By Him In A Very Countercultural W