Thursday, October 23, 2008

SPIRITUAL ARTS by Jill Briscoe

Spiritual Arts: Mastering the Disciplines for a Rich Spiritual Life is a 2009 book on Christian living by Jill Briscoe. Based on Paul's letter to the Philippians, Briscoe outlines eight "spiritual arts" that Christians should practice and master: ministry, harmony, humility, intimacy, tenacity, maturity, serenity, and receptivity. Briscoe's enthusiasm for evangelism is impressive. Her broader points on Christian living are right on, even if many of her finer points are not, and her chapter on serenity is particularly good. 

Briscoe's writing style is not for everyone. She uses a simple, colloquial style that will turn off some readers because they may feel she's talking down to them. Her attempts at humor are extremely corny. Briscoe relates a lot of anecdotes, but often just in passing, without enough details to satisfy or make the stories stick. As a result, Spiritual Arts does not often engage the reader on that deeper level. Her points are sometimes repetitive, and yet the whole work feels scattered. 

Spiritual Arts has some decidedly valuable material in it, but it's definitely not for everyone.