The Sacred Year: Mapping the Soulscape of Spiritual Practice  -     By: Michael Yankoski
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The Sacred Year: Mapping the Soulscape of Spiritual Practice

W Publishing / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Description

After encouraging thousands to live a life of faith, motivational speaker Yankoski decided it was time for less talking and more experiencing. Guided by Father Solomon, a local monk, Yankoski engaged in ancient and modern disciplines. Join him as he cultivates attentiveness, simplicity, gratitude, and more---and discovers a new spiritual depth through intentional living. 354 pages, softcover from Nelson.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 354
Vendor: W Publishing
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 8.11 X 6.11 (inches)
ISBN: 084992202X
ISBN-13: 9780849922022

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Publisher's Description

"In his life and writing, Michael Yankoski walks a tightrope between action and contemplation, and, behold, in ways we can all learn from, he manages to find a sort of essential balance."
Philip Yancey, author of What's So Amazing About Grace

"This book is a joy to the soul and a delight to the heart. It is destined to become a classic within the genre of contemporary spiritual and religious writing."
Phyllis Tickle, compiler of The Divine Hours

Frustrated and disillusioned with his life as a Christian motivational speaker, Michael Yankoski was determined to stop merely talking about living a life of faith and start experiencing it. The result was a year of focused engagement with spiritual practices—both ancient and modern—that fundamentally reshaped and revived his life. By contemplating apples for an hour before tasting them (attentiveness), eating on just $2.00 a day (simplicity), or writing letters of thanks (gratitude), Michael discovered a whole new vitality and depth through the intentional life.

Guided by the voice of Father Solomon—a local monk—Yankoski's Sacred Year slowly transforms his life. Both entertaining and profound, his story will resonate with those who wish to deepen their own committed faith as well as those who are searching—perhaps for the first time—for their own authentic encounter with the Divine.

Product Reviews

4.4 Stars Out Of 5
4.4 out of 5
4.4 out Of 5
(4.4 out of 5)
4.4 out Of 5
(4.4 out of 5)
Meets Expectations:
4.4 out Of 5
(4.4 out of 5)
of customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Displaying items 1-5 of 10
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  1. 2 Stars Out Of 5
    Sorry, but I can't be at peace with this book.
    January 11, 2015
    Quality: 2
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 2
    I've read many Christian books and this is the first book that drew many questions from me that is not in a good way. What bothers me most about this book is how it tries to mix Christianity and mysticism or new age-ism together and how it doesn't bother to help readers know God's Word and will.

    It is supposed to be about a spiritual journey, but I can't be at peace with an idea of a spiritual journey where God's Word takes a backseat.

    The premise of learning to focus initially sounded interesting. However, I find his depiction of focus mystical and, frankly, unrealistic. I'm glad he has the time to look at an apple for hours, but what about us? I also find it new-agey. I actually expected the book to begin talking about the secrets of the universe or something.

    Besides that, I didn't feel comfortable reading a supposedly Christian book that barely refers to the Bible. It does refer to the Bible a few times but only in passing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there's a point in the book where the writer truly meditated on it. This is, of course, debatable because I want to give the book benefit of the doubt. Feel free to enlighten me.

    In the end, I'm disappointed. I thought this book will help me grow as a Christian by teaching me how to be still to hear God's voice. I was disappointed because the book focuses on understanding ourselves. I'm sorry, but since my identity in rooted in Christ, shouldn't I be understanding the Word and not focusing on myself? I believe the book has failed to address this.

    On the other hand, I can't deny how skillful the author's writing is. I felt drawn to the almost poetic words. But this can be dangerous if these words are used to deliver a gospel that is not Christ's. I am convinced that devotion to Jesus is simple. I believe it shouldn't be weighed down by practices and works and humanly attempts to understand the "divine." Otherwise, our faith will become something to boast about rather than a complete dependence on God.

    DISCLOSURE: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers review program. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions I have expressed are my own.
  2. Kansas
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski
    November 2, 2014
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski is a book about the author's decision to change his spiritual life during the course of the year. His life is ok. He works as an inspirational speaker in the Christian forum but he feels a lacking in his own spirit's life. He no longer or maybe never felt the closness to God that he desires in his life. The whole year starts with a startling revelation watching another inspirational speaker faking his spiritual life to the crowd of believers and looks into his own life and finds that he is also lacking in ways that needed improvement. The author starts making time for his spirit to grow closer to God the creator. He starts slow. He spends time in a local monastery getting advise from Father Solomon. Oh he doesn't spend the whole year there, just now and then touches base with the Father and gleans advise from him as needs arise. First he is advised to become more attentive and responsive to God and his gifts and surroundings. Once again Michael started small--with an apple. He really tasted and enjoyed his apple---for an hour. Michael goes on to think and digest various concepts of life--death, illness, the poor, human justice in the world and finds that life is not fair. We say that all the time but the author goes on to digest that concept and attempt to in his own little corner of the world to make a difference.

    I have got to admit I have read and met the author, though I am sure that he remembers me not and so I was glad to read this book of his. I had read his book, Under the Overpass and enjoyed that book of his year living life as a homeless man. This book however is deeper and at first starts slow. Don't give up on it. I think that when we American go to make a big change such as this in our life we tend to want the changes to happen quickly and I think that quite possibly Michael was much the same in the beginning of his year. Michael at the end of the year was a changed man with different life practices and because he took the time to discover his own reasons for the different changes he took I believe that he will continue with these practices and make improvements in his life and the lives of those around him. Michael as all young people are was immature in Under the Overpass but wanting to do good. This more mature Michael will change the world. The reader cannot read this book as a blueprint on which to model their own life--each must take the time to discover the changes necessary for their own life. God has a plan for each of us and we must be quiet to hear that still small voice that will tell each of us what that plan is. This is a good book to read for any who want to make a difference in the world and in their life.

    I recieved this book from Booklook for this review.
  3. Manassas, VA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    The Sacred Year
    October 17, 2014
    Manassas, VA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    The author takes a whole new look at what it means to be a Christian, refreshing himself and me, as his reader. It's one thing to talk about all the goodness God brings us, but a whole other to actually experience that goodness. I was fascinated by the journey Yankoski took and was left thinking about my own spiritual life in a whole new light.
  4. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    The Sacred Year - More Than A Book, It's A Conversation
    October 6, 2014
    Matt Greene
    Have you ever had one of those conversations you just don't want to end? Maybe it's with a lover, a lifelong friend, or a cherished grandparent. Regardless, it's one of those conversations that you truly feel blessed to be having and the thought of it coming to a close makes you terribly sad. When you finally say your goodbyes and part ways you are amazed to find how much time has passed. It didn't seem like so many hours could have ticked away in such a short time, but then again you weren't watching the clock.

    The Sacred Year is like one of those time-stopping and cherished conversations you have with a special friend.

    I don't personally know Michael Yankoski, but while reading his latest book I felt as though he had invited me to journey with him through his sacred year experience. It reminded me of sitting on my grandparents porch as they share with me years of wisdom and recount story after story of heartbreak and victory, hard times and harvest. (Although I suspect Michael and I are close enough in age that it would be impossible for him to be my grandpa.)

    Michael's story reads like a well-crafted novel. It's at times whimsical, and his vivid prose draws the reader into the story to experience it firsthand. Akin to his Practice of Attentiveness which he describes in the second chapter, Michael's story causes you to slowly experience every detail as it is uncovered. Just as he encourages the reader to take an hour to eat an apple, I would encourage you to take your time reading this book. There is texture and depth and flavor that you cannot afford to miss by reading it swiftly and carelessly.

    Some could argue that his storytelling is too imaginative, too embellished. And that may be a fair judgment based on the author's disclaimer regarding anonymity and privacy that you can find at the end of the book. But I'll argue to the contrary by returning to my analogy. When listening to my grandparents stories I can't help but wonder at times how in the world they can be true. It seems too unreal, foreign. But that doesn't discredit them in my eyes. For I know they've been places and experienced things that are unimaginable to me. I don't know what it's like to purchase a bottle of Coke for a nickel, but they do and my inexperience doesn't make it less true. Similarly, I don't know what it's like to experience Michael's journey through his sacred year. Except now that I've read his story I feel as though I have tasted it to some degree. And for that I am incredibly thankful.

    Although I don't know how much time I have here in this fleeting life (this is a reality Michael's book encourages you to face head on) I can tell you with certainty that I plan to carry this book with me for the rest of my time here. My copy is already well worn, full of highlights and dog eared pages. And I imagine it will only grow more weathered and gain more markings as my body does the same.

    Another thing I can tell you with certainty is that Michael's encouragement to dig deeper into your faith, his invitation to "work synergistically with God", and his call to leave behind the "Christian Carnival" for an authentic, organic, and mysterious faith is a call I needed to hear. He articulates a longing and ache that I am all too familiar with in my own life, but he offers an alternative and a hope. Instead of despairing and leaving the faith altogether--though he admits to considering it and I'll admit the same--Michael took the advice of a local monk and embarked on a journey of intentional spiritual practices. Not aimed at earning his way into heaven, but aimed at meeting a wildly unconventional God in what seem to be wildly unconventional ways. It's a journey of intentionality, of mystery and doubt, of questions and contemplation. Michael graciously invites us to embark on it with him and experience for ourselves The Sacred Year.

    Note: While I did receive a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for review, I was not paid by the publisher or author to review and feature it. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
  5. Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Inspiration for living the spiritual practices
    October 2, 2014
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Yankoski was a successful author and speaker. At the end of a difficult speaking trip he had an existential crisis. His facade crashed. He had been talking about living a deep spiritual life but wasn't. He needed a different focus.

    A conversation he had led him to what he calls The Sacred Year, a year of deep engagement with Spiritual Practices, some old, some new. He came to realize Christ's invitation to come and die that you might truly live is really an invitation to a way of being in the world, a way of patterning our lives.

    Through the guiding voice of Father Solomon, a local monk, Yankoski began to intentionally structure and order his life around spiritual practices. Discovering these means of grace changed him. He practiced being attentive (Selah). He used the Daily Examen. He reflected, baking bread and even tasting dirt. He pruned, purged,reclaimed, delighted. He contemplated death, digging a grave and then lying in it.

    He also practiced confession, listening prayer, Lectio Divina, Eucharist, solitude, keeping sabbath, practice of wilderness, pilgrimage, gratitude, pursuing justice, living in community, caring deeply.

    The lessons he learned were personal and enlightening. Even part way through the year he wrote, One thing this Sacred Year is beginning to show me is how each of these spiritual practices can work like an antidote to some of the more poisonous aspects of our culture today.

    Even though we will never relive all the experiences Yankoski had, there is much each of us can learn from this book. I really liked his section on reading the Bible for formation and transformation. His experience of Selah, being attentive, has me slowing down to observe and appreciate. One doesn't have to go to a monastery and have a spiritual director to experience the spiritual disciplines. The practice can be a simple as writing thank you notes (gratigraph) or as realistic as buying vegetables from local farmers.

    If you are yearning for something in your Christian life, if you are tired of pretending, if you are seeking a different focus for your spiritual life, I would suggest this book. It is brimming with encouragement and ideas to have your own sacred year. You will discover a new depth through living an intentional life. As it was for Yankoski, it will be just the beginning of a lifetime of daily delving into the divine. He's provided an experience to get you going and a list of resources to keep you on the journey.

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book through the Litfuse Publicity Group for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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