See my interview with Kathleen Gibson on my blog for November 11.
Practice by Practice is one of the best inspirational books I’ve read in a very long time. The subtitle is “the art of everyday faith,” and it lives up to that designation. Readings are titled appropriately (here are a few examples):
“Keep Your Life Debts Short”
“Shine On, No Matter the Weather”
“Stake Your Reputation on Love”
“Help Someone Find Their Song”
“Practice Hospitality (Avoid Homicide)”
Here’s a quote from that last one: “Practicing hospitality is tiring. It punches holes in one’s privacy. It messes with one’s schedule…But ignoring hospitality’s responsibilities robs us of hospitality’s rewards” page 49.
Besides the beauty of the book itself—a hardcover attractively bound and covered in Canada by Word Alive Press—Practice by Practice is a treasury of observation and encouragement, a gift to the reader. I rationed the readings to stretch the experience over a longer period of time. This is truly a gem of a book, a collection of snapshots of life that focus on faith.
Each of author Kathleen Gibson’s wise and often witty anecdotes touched my heart. Some made me laugh out loud, others made me stop and think about what I believe and how I live, others made me weep with realization or compassion or fresh commitment. See what you think:
“…make a practice of never criticizing a mourner—at least, not till you’ve cried with him beside an open coffin” page 31.
“…the image of God never goes into hiding, even in people who have little time for him” page 43.
Gibson’s giftedness as a writer is obvious in quotes such as the following:
“Prairie farm fields in winter shades were spread tidily below like a grandmother’s guest room coverlet, waiting to be turned back by the warm hand of visiting spring” page 57.
“…the sun had finished its evening painting and slipped between the covers of horizon and cloud” page 102.
Her wit is apparent in many quotes, but here’s my favourite example:
“I am a numeric paranoiac: I hate numbers in any form—avoid them like dieters avoid all foods creamy, sweet, or slippery” page 143.
I love the way Gibson describes herself as a “rich little poor girl” (page 164), in the section titled “Cultivate the Truest Riches.”
The author’s unique perspective on life shows through:
“…above the clammy, heaving cloud waits blue and gold, so blue and gold that the looking is difficult. And that should not be surprising, because therein can be found the face of God” page 58.
“…that even if I never publish another article, I’m no less important in the grand scheme of life than the latest multiple bestselling author…because within us resides the image of a God who loves us, not matter who rejects us” page 93.
“Coincidence? There is no such word in God’s dictionary. Only perfect, divine timing” page 151.
I recommend this little book to anyone who longs to draw closer to Christ in everyday faith. And remember, in Kathleen’s words, “No amount of practicing can initiate salvation … protection … love. Those things come to us not because we deserve them but because God is in the business of flagrant outrageous grace” page 168.
Check out Kathleen’s website at http://kathleengibson.ca