This is the eighth blog in a series from Sunderland minister David Whiting, who is currently on sabbatical
‘Holy Habits’ by Andrew Roberts, Malcolm Down Publishing Ltd, 2016
‘Holy Habits’ is the book on discipleship and mission that is to be recommended by the United Reformed Church as part of ‘Walking the Way – Living the life of Jesus today’.
The book is written by Andrew Roberts a Methodist Minister who currently works for the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network of the Methodist Church as a Discipleship Specialist. Previously he was Director of Training for Fresh Expressions.
The book was developed for the Birmingham Methodist District who were seeking to deepen discipleship in the Circuit. The title ‘Holy Habits’ refers not to ecclesiastical clothing but rather to patterns of behaviour as followers of Jesus.
The first part of the book which is made up of five chapters treats discipleship as an adventure and picks up on the aims of discipleship and includes chapters on the suffering nature of discipleship and also signs and wonders.
The second part of the book is made up of a further thirteen chapters. The first chapter being ‘Holy Habitats’ (chapter 6) and second introduces Holy Habits. The remaining chapters pick up on verses in the Acts of the Apostles:
”They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved’ Acts 2:42-47 NRSV).
The chapters deal with ten holy habits described in the verses:
- Biblical teaching
- Breaking of bread
- Eating together
- Gladness and generosity
- Making more disciples
The final chapter of the book is ‘Dare to Dream’ and is introduced by Acts 2:17.
The book is clear and well-written and each chapter includes a number of stories and testimonies relating to the theme of the chapter at the end of each chapter there are questions and suggestions for further reflection and action. Each set of suggestions are divided into three parts, the first is for the individual reader, the second applies to the local Christian Community and the third are from a global perspective. There are biblical passages to reflect upon as well as suggested further reading. At the end of the book there is an exhaustive bibliography.
The book is well worth reading and I would recommend making use of the reflections and actions as the book is read. There is a developing web site at www.holyhabits.co.uk.