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Living into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions [Paperback]

Arthur Boers , Eugene Peterson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2012
In today's high-speed culture, there's a prevailing sense that we are busier than ever before and that the pace of life is too rushed. Most of us can relate to the feeling of having too much to do and not enough time for the people and things we value most. We feel fragmented, overwhelmed by busyness and the tyranny of gadgets.

Veteran pastor and teacher Arthur Boers offers a critical look at the isolating effects of modern life that have eroded the centralizing, focusing activities that people used to do together. He suggests ways to make our lives healthier and more rewarding by presenting specific individual and communal practices that help us focus on what really matters. These practices--such as shared meals, gardening, hospitality, walking, prayer, and reading aloud--bring our lives into focus and build community. The book includes questions for discernment and application and a foreword by Eugene H. Peterson.

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Living into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions + The Way is Made by Walking: A Pilgrimage Along the Camino de Santiago
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From the Back Cover

Focusing on What Really Matters

"It's one thing to clear a piece of land, move the rocks, rake the soil, and protect it with a fence. It's another to bring it to life with berry-bearing bushes, exuberant tubers, vigorous vegetables, and many-splendored flowers. It's that second thing that Arthur Boers has done; he's taken a theory and made it fruitful."
--Albert Borgmann, University of Montana

"For many years now, [Arthur Boers] has embraced Borgmann's passion for living a generous life. . . . This book is his personal witness to the practices that develop into a life of wealth, of generous abundance."
--Eugene H. Peterson, Regent College (from the foreword)

"Arthur Boers has written an insightful, wise, and practical book for people who are feeling exhausted, bored, fragmented, or simply lost in a world of unending busyness and distraction. It is a gift for all of us who want to focus our lives on the places, people, and practices that deeply matter and that give honor to God."
--Norman Wirzba, Duke Divinity School

"I've been waiting for someone to write this important book. Herein Arthur Boers alerts us to the astonishingly overlooked 'quiet desperation' afflicting our lives through the incessant distractions offered by our technological age. And he offers us practices that make space for grace and beauty and focus, which is to say, practices that create the sort of wealth that is the true longing of humankind."
--Lee C. Camp, author of Who Is My Enemy? and host of

"This is an essential book for people of faith who don't want to drown in a culture of distraction. If you read it in a group, it will generate lively discussion. If you read it with your family, it will change the way you live together. And if you read it alone, it will produce some serious soul-searching. This book is a life raft in a sea of words."
--Lillian Daniel, coauthor of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers

About the Author

Arthur Boers (DMin, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate professor and R. J. Bernardo Family Chair of Leadership at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario. He served as a pastor for sixteen years and is the award-winning author of numerous articles and six books, including The Way Is Made by Walking and The Rhythm of God's Grace. He speaks regularly at churches, conferences, and retreats.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Guide for Living with Meaning June 2 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In our busy world, people seem to have material things and are kept busy, but are lacking satisfaction and seem to intuitively know that there must be more to living than just being alive. Many struggle with how to cultivate meaning in their lives. This book offers some overall concepts and practical strategies to help create a life of meaning. Read it once all the way through and then read it again to highlight the parts relevant to me. There is much here for everyone.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a delightful surprise...a restful read Oct. 10 2012
By Jeff Borden - Published on
This was a very interesting book to me for many reasons. The first reason for my interest was the title grabbed my attention. In recent years as I have tried to simplify my life and give more attention to my present surroundings, living more intently in the present moment as it were, I have become more aware of how many distractions compete for my attention. The world continues to accelerate and isolate, distract, and distance us from giving our attention to the people and things that genuinely make life worth living. The title made me curious. I was further intrigued by a number of the endorsements for Living into Focus especially considering that one of those endorsements was made by Eugene Peterson, of whom I am a great admirer, and who wrote the forward. Another reason for my interest was my preparation for leading a spiritual retreat focused on simplicity and spiritual rhythm; I thought the content of this book might provide me with additional information and insight for my presentation.

I am delighted to report that this book not only met my expectations, but also exceeded them in a number of ways. I was pleasantly surprised by the writing style of Arthur Boers. This is the first book I have read from his pen and I found this particular book almost akin to a form of literary onomatopoeia. Let me explain. Onomatopoeias are words that are spelled like they sound or vice versa... like "oink," "pow!" "tic-toc," I think you get the point. Boers' Living into Focus is about "slowing down" and living intently into the present moment. What I realized about a third to half-way through the book is that I was slowing down as I read it. I felt as though I were being led to a place of inner quiet and calm almost as if I were a cobra under the spell of an expert snake charmer. The cadence of the book and the easy manner of Boers' story telling was a meandering experience. He talked often about walking and I soon felt as though I were listening to him share his experiences as I walked along with him. It was an unusual writing style to what I normally read, but in a delightful way. I don't know if it was the nature of the subject matter or my state of mind, but the sum of many variables made for an almost magical read.

The book is sectioned into three primary movements: Part One, Focus Matters, discusses the importance of focus; Part Two, Losing Our Focus, details the contemporary challenges to maintaining focus, and Part Three, Finding our Focus, brings to point exercises and intentional actions to regaining focus on the things that truly give purpose to our life.

I have said that I was especially charmed by the tempo and style of this book. The sum of the whole was a very peaceful and restful read...and very insightful. I originally set out to use the information gleaned for material used in my presentation during a spiritual retreat; I found material and much inspiration in Living into Focus that was featured prominently over the retreat weekend.

I think Arthur Boers has presented weary travelers a wonderful respite in his Living into Focus. I would recommend it very highly.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars helpful practice-centered view Feb. 24 2012
By Maria F. Drews - Published on
In short, Boers offers a frank look at the distracted lives we lead, the focused life we want, and suggests practices to help us move from the former to the latter. His practiced-centered view helps us move from abstract ideas of "less distraction" and "more focus" that may just further distract us. Yet, for someone who enjoys dense theological texts, this book left me longing for a little more meat and a little less fluff. But if you're looking for some good insight and along with accessible examples and stories to help you along the way, this may be the book for you. To read my longer review, head on over to: [...]
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Inspirational Read Feb. 22 2014
By ERB - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this book for a graduate class I was taking. The book is great and I would recommend it to anyone who needs to look deep inside and re-order the priorities of life.
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking and Self-reflection Nov. 11 2013
By T. Manning - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book made me take a careful look at the role technology plays in the life of my family. I am a bit embarrassed at what I discovered, especially regarding my children's use of technology and the reaction when their technology is unavailable to them. We have a lot of work to do in older to put technology in its proper place. I will not give up our use of technology, but we must find a way to enjoy other things as much as we enjoy technology. Thanks for this thought provoking read.
4.0 out of 5 stars Though provoking Sept. 29 2013
By Sandra Cookson - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A thought provoking perspective for families. Technology is not bad, but it needs to be kept in its place. A nice read!
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