For Christ-followers living in an increasingly complicated world, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to live a life of intention and meaning. Where do we even begin? Popular blogger Shannan Martin offers Christians who are longing for a more meaningful life a simple starting point: learn what it is to love and be loved right where God has placed you.
A couple months ago, I saw this book pop up all over Instagram on blogs I read. So when the opportunity came to read and review The Ministry of Ordinary Places by Shannan Martin came, I jumped on it. I was so interested to see what this book was about — though the title of the book gives a good idea. In her book, Shannan Martin tells the story of her family moving into the midst of poor and needy people. Her church consists mainly of convicts and people needing a new start. And that’s where she came to see God’s goodness around her.
To be honest, I still have some mixed feelings about this book. Yes, the idea behind the book is so important. We easily fall into a rut and feel like every day looks the same. Yes, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed when we see the needs of this world. And are we even noticing the needs of this world?
Yet, at times I felt like this wasn’t a “hey, maybe you could try this?” type of a book. Rather, I felt like all other ways of ministries were somehow, well, judged in the book. And I understand, in part. The ministry we are part of, often feels the most important one. It’s the one we encourage others to see, to notice. But reading this book I felt like the ministries in my life? Are somehow deemed a little less important. A little less valuable because I don’t work with convicts or poverty first hand.
Then again, I think this might be a cultural issue as well. Here in Finland, social welfare works entirely differently than in the States. We don’t have such big class differences as taxes even out most financial differences. All that is to say, I wasn’t always able to see the points laid out in this book the way they were presented. Cultural differences probably affected that, though.
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I received this book free from the publisher through The BookLook Bloggers book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions I have expressed here are my own.