Read: based on the recommendation of my friend Amy [not My Friend Amy...my other friend Amy] (Tyndale House, 208 pages)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (finished 7/28/10)
Synopsis: A former teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church, Ortberg presents a candid compilation of personal essays on finding God in the most unlikely times and places. Ortberg, wife to bestselling author and pastor John Ortberg, opens her highly amusing and refreshingly transparent text reminiscing about bygone years as a young mom who couldn’t make time for a quiet time. Recalling those nonstop, hectic early parenting seasons, Ortberg admits to feeling guilty pressure from the church at large until she experienced God’s presence while sitting on a park bench, watching her kids play. She realized that particular God encounter counted as much as any quiet time did. From that moment on, Ortberg discovered a multifaceted God who delights in creating and displaying diversity from one end of creation to the other. Ortberg challenges Christians to examine their tendency to compare themselves with others, teaching them to have the courage to reach out to others selflessly and to view work as a blessed conduit to excellence.
Overall Impression: Ortberg’s first book is a collection of essays about finding God is the small things. Ortberg reflects on her own experiences and relates the stories of others from her church and her life. Most of them are about finding God in places that one wouldn’t normally look. Each essay is sort of meandering, like a conversation or even a blog post. I liked that about the collection — it was reminiscent of Donald Miller or Anne Lamott in its…easy-going-ness. It was also fairly intimate, which was lovely — to get a feel for the woman Orberg is. Still, I’m not sure I walked away with anything new. In many ways, it affirmed many things I’ve already learned, such as that God is both immense as well as deeply concerned with the details. There was one essay that really resonated with me, and it had to do with our sense of smell and how powerful that particular sense is. Think about the smell of a summer barbecue, an ex boyfriend’s cologne, or an old library. You’re immediately transported back to a certain time and place. This is the reason that the Israelites burned incense during important ceremonies. That way, whenever the smell of incense wafted through the camps, they would remember the good things that God did for them. I absolutely love that concept of remembering.
Pros: Great conversational tone. I didn’t mention above, but I also really loved the interior design of this book — so fresh!
Cons: Didn’t walk away with much new information.
Other books I’ve read by Nancy Ortberg: none
Other blogger reviews: One Hand Clapping