One searcher’s honest and fascinating journey to encounter God, love others, and discover his true self through a year of spiritual practices.
Frustrated and disillusioned with his life as a Christian
motivational speaker, Michael Yankoski was determined to stop merely talking about living a life of faith and
start experiencing it. The result was
a year dedicated to engaging in spiritual practices, both ancient and
modern, in a life-altering process that continues to this day. Whether
contemplating an apple for an hour before tasting it (attentiveness),
eating on $2.00 a day (simplicity) or writing simple letters of thanks
Michael discovered a whole new depth through the intentional life.
|About the Contributor(s)||Michael Yankoski
Michael Yankoski is a writer, aspiring theologian, and urban homesteader who dreams of becoming a competent woodworker, musician, and sailor. He received his MA in theological studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, is a (novitiate) Oblate of St. Benedict, and has authored four books. Michael grew up in Colorado, feels at home on the Pacific Coast, and currently resides in Indiana, where he and his wife are pursuing PhDs at the University of Notre Dame.
|Release Date||Sep 16, 2014|
- Review by Matt
The Sacred Year is like one of those time-stopping and cherished conversations you have with a special friend.
I don't personally know Michael Yankoski, but while reading his latest book I felt as though he had invited me to journey with him through his sacred year experience. It reminded me of sitting on my grandparents porch as they share with me years of wisdom and recount story after story of heartbreak and victory, hard times and harvest. (Although I suspect Michael and I are close enough in age that it would be impossible for him to be my grandpa.)
Michael's story reads like a well-crafted novel. It's at times whimsical, and his vivid prose draws the reader into the story to experience it firsthand. Akin to his Practice of Attentiveness which he describes in the second chapter, Michael's story causes you to slowly experience every detail as it is uncovered. Just as he encourages the reader to take an hour to eat an apple, I would encourage you to take your time reading this book. There is texture and depth and flavor that you cannot afford to miss by reading it swiftly and carelessly.
Some could argue that his storytelling is too imaginative, too embellished. And that may be a fair judgment based on the author's disclaimer regarding anonymity and privacy that you can find at the end of the book. But I'll argue to the contrary by returning to my analogy. When listening to my grandparents stories I can't help but wonder at times how in the world they can be true. It seems too unreal, foreign. But that doesn't discredit them in my eyes. For I know they've been places and experienced things that are unimaginable to me. I don't know what it's like to purchase a bottle of Coke for a nickel, but they do and my inexperience doesn't make it less true. Similarly, I don't know what it's like to experience Michael's journey through his sacred year. Except now that I've read his story I feel as though I have tasted it to some degree. And for that I am incredibly thankful.
Although I don't know how much time I have here in this fleeting life (this is a reality Michael's book encourages you to face head on) I can tell you with certainty that I plan to carry this book with me for the rest of my time here. My copy is already well worn, full of highlights and dog eared pages. And I imagine it will only grow more weathered and gain more markings as my body does the same.
Another thing I can tell you with certainty is that Michael's encouragement to dig deeper into your faith, his invitation to "work synergistically with God", and his call to leave behind the "Christian Carnival" for an authentic, organic, and mysterious faith is a call I needed to hear. He articulates a longing and ache that I am all too familiar with in my own life, but he offers an alternative and a hope. Instead of despairing and leaving the faith altogether--though he admits to considering it and I'll admit the same--Michael took the advice of a local monk and embarked on a journey of intentional spiritual practices. Not aimed at earning his way into heaven, but aimed at meeting a wildly unconventional God in what seem to be wildly unconventional ways. It's a journey of intentionality, of mystery and doubt, of questions and contemplation. Michael graciously invites us to embark on it with him and experience for ourselves The Sacred Year.
Note: While I did receive a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson for review, I was not paid by the publisher or author to review and feature it. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. (Posted on 10/6/14)