Contented Soul: The Art of Savoring Life


Winner of a 2006 Chicago Book Clinic Award!

Is your life characterized more by long, leisurely walks--or by frantic sprints to get the kids to school, rush to work, beat out other cars in traffic so you can pick the kids up on time and grab dinner before your seven o'clock meeting?

Most of us are racing through life at dangerously high speeds, striving for a higher-paying job or a larger house, and volunteering for a hundred activities without ...

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Winner of a 2006 Chicago Book Clinic Award!

Is your life characterized more by long, leisurely walks--or by frantic sprints to get the kids to school, rush to work, beat out other cars in traffic so you can pick the kids up on time and grab dinner before your seven o'clock meeting?

Most of us are racing through life at dangerously high speeds, striving for a higher-paying job or a larger house, and volunteering for a hundred activities without ever stopping to notice what we do have or to reflect on who we are apart from all our doing. Our culture teaches that possessions equal success and busyness equals importance--and we have believed the lie. Though we search for contentment, we never find it. Even more, we begin to doubt its existence.

In The Contented Soul, sociologist Lisa Graham McMinn invites us to slow down,
be still and learn the art of savoring life.

Our souls were not made for frantic, frenzied living. In the midst of our busy culture, we have forgotten--or perhaps never learned--how to savor moments and days. But McMinn calls us back to a significant, simpler way of life, a way characterized by intimate connection with our Creator, authentic relationships with others and a profound hope for the shalom that is to come. Along the way, the author also gives us examples of people who have chosen this way of life and found it genuinely satisfying, stirring hope that we, too, can choose and find lasting contentment.

So pull up a chair by the fire, or set out for a quiet stroll, binoculars in hand, and begin living life the way God intended: a life of freedom, beauty, connection and true satisfaction for your soul.

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Editorial Reviews

Ron Woodward
"In an age where there's much to be troubled by, Lisa McMinn has a terribly important word for us about contentment--a word that's rooted in eternity but full of practical counsel. It's a word about 'sipping and savoring' the good gifts of life and reflecting on what really matters. I highly recommend a slow read of The Contented Soul, with time to ponder the queries at the end of each chapter."
Ben Patterson
"The Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs said Christian contentment is a rare jewel. Lisa McMinn has held this gem up to the light and looked at its many facets with gentle wisdom and eloquence. She also shows us that contentment is not passive satiety but earnest desire applied to the good things of God and his kingdom. More than a manual of contentment, it is an invitation to hunger and thirst for righteousness. The Contented Soul is a delight to read and to follow."
Lauren F. Winner
"This book is challenging, encouraging, provocative. We would all do well to accept Lisa McMinn's invitation to contentment."
Phyllis Tickle
"This is a comfortable book--as peace-filled as its title suggests and as subtle as its subtitle promises. But if you believe, as I do, our faith is written in our lives and that souls are the eternal, animate result of that union, then you need to stop a while and read what Lisa McMinn has to say about the process."
Ellen T. Charry
"This autobiographical reflection on simplifying life is a lovely addition to popular Christian literature. Especially calming are its phrases 'mellowness of heart' and 'walking gently,' traits that we would all do well to embrace."
Publishers Weekly
McMinn, chair of the sociology-anthropology department at Wheaton College in Illinois, explores the nature and practice of contentment from a contemporary Christian vantage point in this excellent guide to spiritual practice. She turns her attention first to what constitutes contentment and then to some ways we can cultivate it in our busy and sometimes unfulfilled lives. There is much to ponder about slowing down in order to become more aware, practicing fortitude, living with our physical limits and resisting "rugged individualism" in favor of embracing and supporting strong community ties or "communitarianism." McMinn pays special attention to the act of remembering, "because the needs of the day demand attention and energy that drain our capacity to remember." To engage readers with each theme, McMinn places discussion and reflection questions at the end of each chapter. The unique gift of this book is McMinn's background as a sociologist; she deepens many popular spiritual practices by placing them in the context of the great web of life and does so with the ease and beauty of a memoir. This book will especially delight those interested in understanding how inner peace is vitally connected to peace in the exterior world. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
McMinn (sociology, Wheaton Coll., IL) reflects not so much on her academic background as on a pervasive and subtle religiosity. Her touchstones are figures as various as Henri Nouwen and Barbara Kingsolver, as well as the Bible itself. To McMinn, the peace of a contented life comes in part from the paradoxical recognition that "we will never be fully satisfied this side of eternity." McMinn's calm, fluent, engaging prose persuasively reminds readers that everything in human life retells the story of creation, fall, and redemption; the difficulties of our lives are balanced by the assurance of God's presence in the world. For most collections. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780830833351
  • Publisher: InterVarsity Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2006
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 185
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Graham McMinn (Ph.D., Portland State University) is professor of sociology in the department of sociology and social work at George Fox University in Oregon.

Her other books include Growing Strong Daughters (Baker), Sexuality and Holy Longing (Jossey-Bass) and The Contented Soul (InterVarsity Press). Her articles have appeared in Journal of Psychology and Christianity, Sociology of Religion, Journal of Psychology and Theology, Research on Christian Higher Education, and Christianity Today.

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Table of Contents

1. An Invitation to Contentment
2. Seeing the Self as Soul
3. The Practice of Fortitude
4. Mellowness of Heart
5. Embracing Limits
6. Sipping and Savoring
7. Walking Gently
8. Crafting Community
9. Remembering
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