In the past few years, I’ve found an interesting place to discuss theology: Twitter.
Is it possible to discuss deep topics when the post is limited to 280 characters? If the person understands the medium, yes.
One such person is Traci Rhoades at tracesoffaith. I stumbled across her posts at some point and continued. Rhodes has a great way of asking questions about faith and religion, and her followers provide very thoughtful answers from a variety of denominations and backgrounds.
She also has a weekly “Seven Things” newsletter, which can be joined from her Twitter homepage. As the title suggests, it’s a list of seven things I’ve come across in the past week. Includes links to recent articles on religious topics, and sometimes to recipes. The last link was to a story about how the covers of romance novels changed to appeal to a wider audience. Rhodes also reviews books in her newsletter.
This week, Rhodes talks about her book “Shaky Ground,” published by Morehouse Publishing.
The premise of the book is that the bottom falls for everyone. Things may start out strong – including a new person’s faith in Jesus – but eventually things get shaken up. Rhodes spends time showing that this has been true throughout history.
Remember that the church’s answer to those going through a troubled time is usually “Follow Jesus,” but there is often a simple explanation of what that means.
Rhodes’ Book describes different spiritual disciplines that she feels can help a person find stability through the shaking earth.
She said in a newsletter, “The working title of this book is ‘Spiritual Toolbox,’ where she shares about the spiritual practices she’s discovered across our church traditions. It still comes with that idea, but we realized early on that we desperately need these practices when our world is in shambles.” .
The first part of the book looks at silence, which is perhaps the most difficult for many of the disciplines I mentioned. Rhodes shares her journey into silence, how she talks to her, and shares how others can learn from the parts of silence. You find that silence is a means of stability even when life is still shaky.
The second part is included in the prayer. Rhodes visits many Christian traditions, and reads writings about many of them. Here she describes how prayer books—something she wasn’t raised as a Baptist—play a role in her prayer life. She describes how clips preserved from various sources made her go through a crisis. She recommends many places to look for prayer.
The third part talks about reading the Bible. While visiting many churches, Rhodes also reads many translations of the Bible. Its current status for daily reading is a chronological bible. It suggests ways to read the Bible and study the Bible.
The remaining two parts of the book look at church attendance, communion, baptism, and more. All of these spiritual practices are offered. It even treats doubt as a normal part of the spiritual life.
This book is short: 199 pages. Part of that might be life in the Twitterverse.
“This book incorporated many insights from the conversations we had on Twitter, and I wanted to acknowledge this partnership,” Rhodes said. “The book’s gifting page and thank you section to my Twitter friends credits it.”
After the affidavits, Rhodes made other lists. There is a practice appendix, where she lists a practice, briefly describes it, and lists books to read. And if you want to go deeper, Rhodes lists all the books she referenced in her writing. Both give the reader a quick way to begin studying these disciplines in more depth.
The “shaking floor” is a good reminder that faith does not imply a steady path but that our faith can help us persevere in ourselves. The book’s brevity makes it a good reminder for those with years of faith, as well as a good starting point for those new to the faith.
The book officially launches on August 19 and can be purchased on Amazon. bookshop.orgBaker Book House, Walmart and Target.