I’m gonna lead with the good part here: At its best—specifically, throughout its exercises here—Daniel Henderson gives us some practical tools to work with, to indeed turn our chronos (measured time) into kairos (time truly engaged with God, and others).
And with that, the bad: It takes an awful lot of chronos to get to the payoff here.
Daniel Henderson. The Deeper Life: Satisfying the 8 Vital Longings of Your Soul. 272p., $15.99, Bethany House.
I can almost hear the publisher discussion here: “Hey Daniel, you’ve got some great training tools here. D’ya ever consider writing a book?” (To be fair, the conversation could’ve gone the other way around, and the publisher took this pretty much solely because of the tools herein.) Bottom line: The exercises that are the real meat here are only 40 pages of this book (with 165 pages of intro/”book content,” and an additional 65 pages of appendices of fairly familiar stuff).
To be fair, for someone whose light just came on and has realized that there is a deeper life in Jesus to be had, this could be a very useful book. At a certain point, though, I found myself flipping quickly.
I finally did stop flipping at Chapter 7 (of 8), “When Shall I Do It?” where the chronos/kairos issue is explored. Really, the book could have started right here (although it’ve only been 80 pages if it had). Here, for me, was the point of the whole book: “Every seemingly mundane minute, when spent with another person, carries the potential of a kairos moment.”
The exercises that follow not long after connect us better with God and give us a deeper knowledge of ourselves, and thus equip us to better spend those kairos moments with others. I’ve used something similar to the opening exercise (which admittedly I lifted from Blackaby’s Discovering God), where the reader charts life experiences with God and looks for the patterns therein. I also liked the exercise that connects our life struggles with the attributes of God we need to become more aware of, as well as the exercise designed to point out the gap between our “declared” values and our “demonstrated” values. And so on. The whole section’s pretty useful.
In fact, I suspect this book would have been much more useful/readable if the exercises had been somehow directly wrapped into the chapters—or just had new chapters written that did directly tie to the exercises.
All in all, there’s definitely some bang to this book. Whether it’s enough for your buck, though, is a whole ‘nother matter.