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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Soul Custody

I received Soul Care:  Choosing To Care For The One And Only You by Stephen W. Smith from Audra at B&B Media Group in exchange for my honest review.

Mr. Smith begins Soul Care by describing a kind of violence that has been unleashed upon our souls and states how for many of us "life is not working as we think it should".  And the culprit according to Mr. Smith is busyness:
"Every single person who feels more dead than alive, more tired tan energized, more burned-out than motivated, more unfulfilled than thriving is a soul in need - a soul who needs to be cared for.  The Chinese have two characters for the English word busyness, which they define as 'heart annihilation'.  We're killing ourselves with all of our busy, busy, busy."
Mr. Smith spends the rest of the book helping the reader to understand how to "take back what you might have lost along the way while living your life".  He does this by laying out the concept of soul custody which he describes as "taking back what we've almost lost in order to gain what we should never want to lose".  He says this is our "sacred privilege".

Mr. Smith quotes Eugene Peterson in the first chapter and the quote is so good I have to share it here:
"Many people think that what's written in the Bible has mostly to do with getting people into heaven - getting right with God and saving their eternal souls.  It does have to do with that, of course, but not mostly.  It is equally concerned with living on this earth - living well and living in a robust sanity."
I don't know about you, but I'd love to discover this robust sanity!

To be honest, the subtitle to this book, Choosing To Care For The One And Only You, is what peaked my interest in reading this book.  My initial thoughts were, "On no.  Here is another 'Christian' book that's going to be more man-centered than God-centered; another book that will tell me if I just believe in myself, I can do anything!"

I was very wrong.

Mr. Smith does a very good job of pointing the reader to God's word and explaining that taking custody of your soul is an act of stewardship.  This life is not all about us, but how can we serve others and care for them following the example of Jesus by continually trying to give what we do not have?  Mr. Smith says:
"You can't help anyone else if you are dying for lack of oxygen.  It is not selfish for you to breathe first, then help the others in need."
Here are the chapter titles:
  • Soul Choices:  Turning Your Life Around
  • Soul Solace:  Choosing Stillness
  • Soul Focus:  Choosing a Simplicity of Faith and Life
  • Soul Serenity: Choosing to Detox From Stress
  • Soul Sabbath:  Choosing to Cease the Insanity
  • Soul Identity:  Choosing to Become the Real You
  • Soul Vocation:  Choosing What to do in Life
  • Soul Address:  Choosing to Honor the Body-Soul Connection
  • Soul Companions:  Choosing Your Friends
  • Soul Action:  Moving from Choice to Action
There are questions at the end of each chapter where Smith has the reader go to God's word and explore the concepts he shared in the chapter as they line up with scripture, making the book excellent for use with a small group study.

Soul Custody can be purchased at