Katherine Jefferts Schori, [former] bishop of the Episcopal Church, presents readers an excellent challenge by using the theme of "connection."
She succinctly examines current social issues, including environmental and economic concerns. In an intertwining manner, she asks and suggests solutions on how the church can integrate our faith and the power of the gospel to address these issues and concerns.
All chaplains, clergy and laypeople can benefit by learning about these connections and searching their hearts for their personal and collective answers to her questions. In so doing, they can gain compassion to further their ministries. Reading The Heartbeat of God could enrich each staff member of churches, hospitals, hospices and the like.
For Jefferts Schori, her connection is inclusive. Listening to the heartbeat of God means searching, everywhere. She includes marginal people, public life and all of creation. Taking a deep, inward look at our connection with the heart of God, she invites us to examine our inner life, offering prescriptions for healing broken relationships.
Jefferts Schori emphasizes our universal connection. She profoundly calls us to care for the least of those among us, reminding us of God's promise as we respond to these critical needs and, together, take steps to obliterate them: "God follows with a metonoiaa new mind and a new heart" (xviIntroduction).
Led as a workshop or seminar, this book could provide continuing education for a group. The strength of The Heartbeat of God is the poignant reflection questions that follow each chapter. While read individually, the questions create personal insight. However, when considering the questions in a group, they may stimulate deep thought and rich discussion that would enhance the reading experience. Jefferts Schori aptly provides resources that would complement this book at its conclusion.
The author attains her object: to invite readers to hear, to listen and to respond to the beat of God's heart. It is up to us, individually and together, to do soto sustain these connections that she presents.