Present Perfect

Present Perfect (the latest book by author/pastor Greg Boyd) proves to be another well written, thought provoking book by Boyd. Boyd has a history of writing books that make people think and even create controversy. His book, Letters from a Skeptic, answers questions about God with a take that some have labeled Open Theism. His book, The Myth of Christian Nation, challenges the notion that America should be considered a Christian nation and the common notion that the church should bring America back to its roots.

I was very interested in reading his latest book because I have both vehemently disagreed and also wholeheartedly agreed with some of the more controversial elements in previous books. To be sure, Boyd is both a great writer and a very good thinker. So, I knew I’d love the conversation I’d have with this book.

And, I was so right. While previous books have been more theological in nature, this book is much more practical, daily living oriented. (not to make the distinction that theology isn’t practical)

Boyd does a great job of walking the reader through a Biblical understanding of what many have called contemplative or centering prayer. In addition, he borrows extensively from three authors that have influenced Boyd’s understanding. (Brother Lawrence, Jean-Pierre deCaussade, and Frank Laubach)

I love the way that Boyd interacts with these authors, the Biblical text, and his own experience. And, rather than pretending he has it all figured, Boyd presents himself as a fellow traveller – which I found refreshing. In addition, each chapter has exercises that help the reader apply and experiment with the concepts he presents.

The book is challenging and yet written so well that the reader doesn’t have to read each section three times in order to understand. All in all a great book that is very readable and reflective yet deep and thought provoking. There are a few things that I would see differently (from a theological/sanctification standpoint) but there is nothing worth arguing over or discouraging someone from reading. It is very worth the internal conversation you’ll have with this book to read it.

If you are interesting in understanding the what, why, and how of “prayer without ceasing” and developing a moment by moment relationship with God … this is a must read.

Note: I received a copy of Present Perfect by Greg Boyd a few weeks ago from the publisher as a part of a group that was reading in order to review.

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~ by Ted Wueste on May 17, 2010.

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