Simplicity is the mark of the master hand whether the creation is a chair, a poem, a sermon, or a photograph. The title for this beautifully produced paperback of meditations and black-and-white photographs is from the classic Shaker hymn "The Gift to Be Simple." All the stunning photographs by Micah Marty were taken at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Kentucky. Here members of this nineteenth century movement sought to live the ideal of a simple, God-centered life.

The images of a spiral staircase, wool in a basket, a gate and latch, broom-making supplies, a deacon's bench, a mixing bowl, and many others draw us into meditations by Martin Marty based on prayers by such notable Christians as John Wesley, St. Ignatius Loyola, Reinhold Niebuhr, Jakob Bohme, George Fox, William Penn, and others. Again and again the Martys challenge us to cherish and explore the vibrant simplicities of faith, grace, and community.