Have you ever felt a tension between developing your internal spiritual life and the call to outward service in the world? Those of us who are more naturally activists risk becoming bitter, tired and burned out. Those of us who gravitate toward the contemplative life may struggle to connect our spirituality with the world around us. How do we allow the life of Jesus to flow through our whole bodies into our everyday lives? This book is a result of how Tom Smith held these questions in tension, as Eugene H. Peterson reflects in his foreword: "There is a back story here that is helpful in understanding Tom Smith's fierce focus and energetic imagination. He grew up in South Africa during the years of apartheid. . . . He also was aware that the Rwanda genocide took place in a population mostly Christian. He became a pastor in a flourishing South African church and then came to North America. He experienced the temptation to degenerate church into a consumer program. . . . This book is a witness to what takes place when names trump numbers and stories with their accompanying metaphors keep relationships personal and prayerful." Having Jesus in our hearts is not enough. Jesus calls us to a spirituality that involves our everyday actions and interactions with others and extends our sphere of influence. In this raw, honest, whole-life approach to Christian formation, Tom Smith introduces us into a "rhythm of life" that that brings flourishing to our personal spirituality that then extends to our service in the world.
Tom Smith is the co-founder of Rhythm of Life, a spiritual formation consulting group. He was formerly pastor at Claypot, a church community in Johannesburg, South Africa, and continues to consult South African churches in the areas of spiritual formation and missional spirituality. He is married to Lollie and has two children.
"The principles he espouses in this book are basic tenets of the Christian faith. He grabs readers' attention with chapter titles like "Jesus with a Six-Pack," and the questions at the end of each chapter all are titled "Training Naked." Smith does a wonderful job asking and imploring each reader to return to being a Jesus follower."
"Tom Smith is relentless. He insists, no holds barred, that the Christian life necessarily must be lived using all our body parts, visible and invisible. There is not a hint of romanticism, idealism or perfectionism in what he writes. He just wants us to take seriously what has been handed down to us for two thousand years in Christian worship and witness and obedience."
"Tom is an authentic, committed and grace-filled apprentice of Jesus. The more we spent time together, the more I was inspired by the way he lives his life, by the wisdom that comes from living a Christ-infused life. . . . I engaged the book, as he suggests, not merely reading it but also applying it by engaging in the practices that he suggests. . . . In doing so I found his teaching to be more than good ideas: its a serious call to live this raw spirituality."