Spiritual Rhythm book review

Spiritual Rhythm book review
10 Point Rating10
10Overall Score

Date read: 01.21.2017. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10

Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul, by Mark Buchanan on Amazon.

See my Kindle highlights here.


The 21st century, it seems to me, has spawned a broad demographic of readers who are too easily satisfied by books of insubstantial content. As an avid reader (and writer), I mean this not as a slight but as an observation. This is not the case with Spiritual Rhythm. The author unequivocally sticks to his inclination and gifting as a seasoned storyteller, thus garnering a readership marked by literary competence, creative appetite, and poetic impulse. People who enjoy being mentally, emotionally, and spiritually challenged will find this work illuminating.


Rarely have I found spiritual insights deciphered with such clarity and creativity. The author takes age-old biblical encounters and draws deep conclusions (or at least offerings) that I had never before considered. In his introduction, he states: “This book is about four distinct seasons—not in the natural world but within us. It explores the cycles in our hearts that, like the axial turnings of earth, mark out seasonal rhythms in our lives: flourishing and fruitful, stark and dismal, cool and windy, or everything coming up new.” The content of his work was to me both timely and inspiring.


A book like this is not meant to be read in a week (as I did if only to complete a goal of reading 52 books in a year’s time). There’s too much introspection to be had, too many emotions evoked. The message of the book bursts with rays from warm Spring sun after a long winter and elicits a prolonged response, one that traverses the seasons of the soul. At times, while reading, I simply had to pause for a moment, to take it all in, to consider the depth of this powerful yet simple message: seasons come and seasons go, each season calling the heart to respond in some certain way. We can neither change the season nor time-travel to another. But there are things we can do to respond accordingly in each season. Some have said that “this is actually two books in one.” I do not find this to be true. Instead, I find that part two serves to empower part one. Part two grows the foundational message of part one with thicker, bushier truth and introspective thought, harvesting deeper truths that the reader may have missed.


I highlighted a large portion of this book yellow. The verbose creativity that the author is typically known for again challenges and inspires. It makes me a better thinker, and hopefully a better writer as well. I like to think that I have a broad vocabulary matched with some tinge of creative expression. The author makes me question this claim. No, more than that. Rather, he invites me to higher plains and elevates my creativity through his effortless storytelling ability.


Every chapter, as is the author’s trademark, ends with a statement, thought, or anecdote that inspires and causes one to pause and linger for a time. Woven throughout the entirety of this book, and especially in each chapter’s final conclusion or encouragement, I find beautiful language, provoking encouragement, and glorious revelation. The author is a discerning storyteller, an inventive poet, a true wordsmith.


Initially, I experienced a tinge of frustration, partially because the author illuminates places inside me where light has long been withheld. But frustration gave way to motivation because I too pine to pen many a rumination with similar masterful poetic capability. Upon deeper reflection, the positive impact that this book has generated upon my soul is poignant. Everywhere I go, everything I do, I am looking, observing, pondering—like the men of Issachar—for the times and seasons. I find that there is something to be had here, right now—and correspondingly not long from now—of the Kingdom of God. Its advent is as imminent as it is bone-shaking, tree-bending, root shaking. After reading this book, I think on the Kingdom of God more often, considering the biggerness of the King and His intents. “The kingdom shines through the mundane and the quotidian. The everlasting flits at the edges of the everyday.” I ponder the fruit of my life, how it germinates, buds, bursts forth, and the longevity it might possess. “…if Jesus wants us both to bear much fruit and to pursue the kingdom of God first—if to do one is, indeed, to do the other, and vice versa—then one of the best shifts we could make in our churches is to dismantle the model of spirituality that equates busyness with faithfulness and replace it with the simple idea that fruit alone denotes faithfulness, and fruit requires seasons.” I have been deeply impacted by this book and am grateful for the author’s insights into the seasons, and the rhythms they stimulate.


I give Spiritual Rhythm a 10/10.

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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