An addiction, recovery, and spiritual renewal manual focuses on Christianity.
“How is it that there is such a huge gap between having religious notions and living a religious life?” asks Determan (Finding Our Way Back, 2018) in his short, dynamic study of the role Christianity can play in the lives of recovering addicts and the everyday faithful. The author points out the prevalence of “privatized spirituality” in an era when increasing percentages of people describe themselves as “none” when polled about their religious affiliations. And he mentions the widespread idea among Christians that God is an august concept located far on the peripheries of their lives instead of right at the “nuts and bolts” level. Determan embraces the traditional Christian concept that Jesus came into the world not to show mortals how to become divine but rather to reveal how to be fully human, how to appreciate “the sacredness of humanity.” Much of the book deals with this spiritual/material dichotomy and the ways it can inadvertently serve as a disconnect for the faithful who need more immediate help in the not-at-all mysterious world around them. Determan stresses to such readers the reliability of a God “who is not distant but rather is standing beside us in our grief, weeping with us…helping us to heal.” The author doesn’t shy away from the rockier side of these daily challenges (one of his most striking metaphors is that of a gladiatorial arena), but he wants to assure his readers that they have greater resources than they might think. “I am convinced that in one way or another we are all called by the mystery and miracle of life,” he writes at one point, seeking to ally a spiritual dimension with a scientific element that increasingly structures modern life. Much of the encouragements in this short book will be familiar to readers of Christian motivational works (Determan cites many of these here). But the author’s clarity of prose and recurrent theme of optimism should still make this a valuable hour’s read for his core audience of fellow believers, particularly those going through rough times.
A compact guide deftly emphasizes the supportive closeness of God in Christian life.