A Guide To Retreat Book Review

On a hunt for books in a second hand book shop, down in Shelly Beach, I found this gem of a book. It looked like it had not been read and brand new, and was priced at R20.

The book is called A Guide To Retreat, For all God’s Shepherds – by Reuben P. Job.

I love reading books about spirituality, Theology and anything to do with God, The Holy Spirit and Jesus. And this book captured my attention from the first word, so much in fact, that I ended up reading it through twice in a row.

The author Reuben Job, set up the chapters to be run as separate one day retreats, or as a week long retreat.

Each chapter challenges you about something that plagues all Ministers in the Church at some point in time. Though written for Pastors, this book is equally valuable to any Minister in the Church. I briefly quote from each chapter.

Chapter 1 deals with “When all I hear is silence” Most of us experience times of absence and silence in our Spiritual Journey. We need to persevere.

Chapter 2 “When others tell me who I am” Clarity about who we are is found in God and in intimate companionship with God. This intimate companionship does not occur accidentally. It is the result of our consistent response to God’s persistent invitation to relationship. Our identity is not determined by people and the world surrounding us.

Chapter 3 “In the midst of faults and failures” To be in ministry is to experience failure. Anyone who has sought faithfully to fulfill the call to ministry for even a brief time, knows both the feelings and the reality of failure.

Chapter 4 “The tension between doing and being” Consider it a gift when you keenly feel the tension between doing and being. It is a positive sign of your awareness of God’s call, a sign of your maturity in Christ, and one of the places where every Christian Minister may experience significant growth and renewal. The tension between being and doing can be a pressure point of pain and anguish in a sensitive and sincere pastor’s heart. We are often troubled and wonder why there never seems to be enough time or energy to pray and do.

Chapter 5 “Do I have a future in the Church?” This was a difficult chapter to read, but I believe that those who have discovered the truth of the words of Jesus, to lose one’s life is to find it. We live in a new reality, a world that, in spite of evidence to the contrary, is still a place where the radical ways of discipleship can be taught and practiced. We learn that it is possible to lose one’s life and find it as a pastor in our contemporary world.

Chapter 6 “Who really calls and sends?” Ideally all those who are chosen to be set aside for ordained ministry, are made out of a prayerful, faithful, informed and committed community. In the Anglican Church, the Bishop with his discernment committee are charged with this responsibility. And they do so prayerfully, to make sure that what they discern, reflects God’s call for this person. Are we hearing God’s voice in the discernment and decision making? Are we heeding God’s call or to our current circumstance?

This book is meant to be read when taking a quiet day or on retreat, as it requires time spent in reflection. And is well worth the read.

I highly recommend this book to ALL God’s Shepherds.

My copy has been promised to someone already and will not be available in the St Francis Chapel Library for lending.

Grace and Peace.

Vanda Chittenden

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