So begins this long-awaited reissue of James Taylor’s bestselling, timeless classic, An Everyday God. Taylor is a master at finding God in the stuff of ordinary life. He teaches the way Jesus taught – by telling stories about everyday things: an old song remembered from years ago, an arthritic pet cat, a lost contact lens. Along the way, he opens our eyes, ears, minds, and hearts, to the discovery that God is not only present in religious ceremonies, but in everything we do, whether we’re studying the universe or diapering a baby, taking out the garbage or playing touch football. At any time, God may be telling us something new, or helping us to understand something old. The first book in Taylor’s “Everyday” trilogy, An Everyday God remains a rewarding guide to spiritual growth.
About the author
"Jim Taylor is one of Canada's best known authors and editors among mainline churches and denominations. He is the author of twelve books himself including The Spirituality of Pets (2006), An Everyday God (2005), Precious Days and Practical Love: Caring for an Aging Parent (1999), The Canadian Religious Travelguide (1982), Discovering Discipleship (with George Johnston, 1983), Two Worlds in One (1985), Last Chance (1989), Surviving Death (1993) republished as Letters to Stephen (1996), Everyday Psalms (1994), Everyday Parables (1995), Sin: A New Understanding of Virtue and Vice (1997), Lifelong Living (for the United Church's Division of Mission in Canada) (1983), and The Spiritual Crisis of Cancer (for the Canadian Cancer Society) (1984).
He was the founding editor of the ecumenical clergy journal Practice of Ministry in Canada (PMC) for the first 15 years of its publication. He was for 13 years Managing Editor of The United Church Observer. A co-founder of Wood Lake Books, Taylor lives and works in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.
Excerpt: An Everyday God: Insights from the Ordinary (by (author) James Taylor)
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Work It Out Yourself!
A friend and I were trying to solve a small engineering problem. For his business, he needed a fairly simple mathematical formula that he could use to save himself from going through hours of trial and error calculations every time a particular problem came up.
It really wasn't a difficult problem, in retrospect. A graduate engineer might well have been able to give us the formula, right off the top of his head. A skilled mathematician might have worked it out for us in a few minutes.
But we had to start from the beginning, working our way through from basic principles and practical experience.
So the two of us spent a whole evening, batting ideas back and forth, struggling with trigonometry and algebra and binomial equations.
Eventually we got the formula we needed. When we had it all laid out on paper so that we could understand it, we had gone through 27 steps, from original problem to final formula.
Later, we looked again at those 27 steps. We discovered we didn't need that many. Now that we knew what we were doing, the process could be cut to just three simple, straightforward steps!
When I think back to that struggle, it seems very like the way I learned about God. I started from our everyday experiences. I chased up blind alleys. I missed obvious answers. I discussed my misunderstandings with other searchers, as if all the floundering were really leading me towards the truth.
Didn't you do the same?
But once we do discover God - God who has been there all the time, waiting for us - we look back and see how simple, how straightforward, the whole search could have been.
That's when we create trouble for ourselves, and for others. We start to think that we can save other people so much time, so much effort - if they would just follow our route to God.
That might be true if God could be reduced to a formula.
But as we keep finding, God is much more than any equation - whether of figures, symbols, rituals, or words.
That is why each person has to go through the struggle of discovery. Each person has to launch that individual search and make mistakes, and get lost, and eventually discover just how simple it all could have been.
And once your discovery has been made, all you can do for other people is to encourage them to keep on searching.
Even though it would be a lot simpler, you just can't make their discovery for them.
Towards a fuller understanding
~ 1 Corinthians 15:11-12 and 2 Peter 5:14-15
Share with God some of the painful steps your faith has gone through and is still going through.
Express thanks that you were given time to grow.
Acknowledge that your faith is not yet perfect, but has more growing to do.
Ask God to have patience.
Other titles by James Taylor
More Everyday Parables
Simple Stories for Spiritual Reflection
The Spirituality of Pets
The power of the Psalms in language and images for today
In the Aftermath
What September 11 is teaching us about our world, our faith and ourselves
John for Beginners
A Bible Study for Individual or Group Use
Geography for the 21st Century
Precious Days & Practical Love
Caring For Your Aging Parent
Rediscovering God in Common Things