Survival Guide for the Soul

Ken Shigematsu is a lucid writer with the unique ability to convey the deep things of the heart in a way that is easy to absorb. Many books on spiritual formation can ironically be ‘draining’ to read, but not so here: Ken’s vivid illustrations and accessible prose naturally draw the reader into a mode of prayer, observation and rest.

The book’s overarching metaphor, based on the work of Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, draws from the twin accounts of the Adam and Eve in Genesis – one a Striving Adam set on “subduing the world” (Gen 1) and the other a Soulful Adam strolling with God in the cool of the day (Gen 2). Christian writing tends to major on one or the other. Thankfully, Ken presents them as a balanced pair, helping us lean into both our God-given capacity to achieve and our deep longing for sincere relationships.

Saturated throughout the book is an invitation to let ‘the Voice that calls us beloved’ have greater prominence in every moment. As such, Survival Guide for the Soul is thematically linked to Ken’s first book, God in My Everything. But it’s far from a mere paraphrase: the sequel is every bit as good as the original.