In Stripping Down: The Art of Spiritual Restoration United Church of Christ minister Donna Schaper uses the metaphor of restoring an old chair as a key to understanding the discipline of refashioning our lives, renewing society, and reawakening our spirits. The author's illustrative material hits the mark by being both accessible and poignant.
Schaper realizes that her "old chair of a soul" needs refinishing. Through self-examination, she comes to see that it is time to strip away illusions and all that is not necessary. Soulwork helps us to think about the "original beauty God intended" for us.
Spiritual restoration also encompasses renewing society. This means taking both spirituality and institutional Christianity seriously as vehicles of God's grace. There is always something that can be done to bring healing into this broken world. Or as the author puts it, "My task is to fulfill the hopes of God in the present moment."
So much of our time and energy is spent on mind and body that we rarely get around to caring for our souls. Schaper suggests the balm of silence, the art of gratitude, and the benefits of community. Stripping Down is a wonderfully subversive book with fresh insights into what it takes to live a soulful life.