Being with God: The Absurdity, Necessity, and Neurology of Contemplative Prayer

Brazos. Oct. 2021. 160p. ISBN 9781587434730. $29.99. REL
Contemplative practices have been part of Catholic and Orthodox spirituality since the apostolic age and continue to the present. Protestantism has largely ignored or been openly hostile toward them. In this book, Sherrill (lead pastor at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Mt. Pleasant, SC; Quiet) suggests contemplation as a corrective to Protestantism’s production-oriented ethos. To Sherrill, the obsession with fleeting accidental externals leads individuals away from God and their genuine selves. He invites readers to find themselves using Christianity’s ancient meditative practices, designed to move the participant toward the silence of their interior self and the company of the Holy Spirit. To counter the notion that meditation is impractical, Sherrill cites studies that he says prove the benefits of general mindfulness training, except that contemplation, unlike mindfulness, aims not to empty oneself but to fill oneself with the divine presence. The book’s only drawback is that Sherrill addresses neither the richness of Christian mysticism nor Protestantism’s issues with it.
VERDICT To advocate for a non-productive spirituality, Sherrill focuses on the pragmatic benefits of contemplation and offers a handful of spiritual life hacks for readers in need of advice or guidance.
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