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The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction

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9780830845606: The Common Rule: Habits of Purpose for an Age of Distraction
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Habits form us more than we form them. The modern world is a machine of a thousand invisible habits, forming us into anxious, busy, and depressed people. We yearn for the freedom and peace of the gospel, but remain addicted to our technology, shackled by our screens, and exhausted by our routines. But because our habits are the water we swim in, they are almost invisible to us. What can we do about it? The answer to our contemporary chaos is to practice a rule of life that aligns our habits to our beliefs. The Common Rule offers four daily and four weekly habits, designed to help us create new routines and transform frazzled days into lives of love for God and neighbor. Justin Earley provides concrete, doable practices, such as a daily hour of phoneless presence or a weekly conversation with a friend. These habits are “common” not only because they are ordinary, but also because they can be practiced in community. They have been lived out by people across all walks of life―businesspeople, professionals, parents, students, retirees―who have discovered new hope and purpose. As you embark on these life-giving practices, you will find the freedom and rest for your soul that comes from aligning belief in Jesus with the practices of Jesus.

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About the Author:

Justin Whitmel Earley (JD, Georgetown University) is the creator of The Common Rule, a program of habits designed to form us in the love of God and neighbor. He is also a mergers and acquisitions lawyer in Richmond, Virginia. He previously spent several years in China as the founder and general editor of The Urbanity Project and as the director of Thought and Culture Shapers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the community through arts. He and his wife, Lauren, have four sons and live in Richmond, Virginia.

Review:

"Creation is full of holy rhythms of life. There is a way to live that honors and embodies these rhythms. The Common Rule is a beautiful, inviting resource that helps us do just that. It is an important guide to living more deeply rooted in God's life-giving kingdom." (Alan Fadling, president and founder, Unhurried Living)

"One of the biggest problems among believers today is their lack of discipline. Consequently, they do not live up to the expectations of Jesus as we can see in the decreasing morality in our country. The Common Rule presents a common-sense discipline that any follower of Jesus could use to become a joyful missionary disciple." (Michael Timmis, former chairman of Prison Fellowship Ministries, member of the board of Alpha International and The New Canaan Society)

"Habitually choosing what is best over and above what is loud and urgent has never been more difficult than in a culture of perpetual distraction. 'But where do I begin?' people ask. In this book, Justin Earley offers the answer. Follow his lead, and you will find much of your life handed back to you." (John Stonestreet, president of The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview)

"It is encouraging to see a new generation of Christians wrestling with the formative power of habits and rituals. Our patterns of life shape our attitudes and actions more than we may realize. The Common Rule urges us to consider our habits in a new light and to embrace a new way of life in which we self-consciously limit ourselves in order to pursue what is best for us and for our neighbors." (Trevin Wax, director for Bibles and reference at LifeWay Christian Resources, author of This Is Our Time: Everyday Myths in Light of the Gospel)

"Although I'm a church leader who has known the Lord for decades, I struggle to find space in my days to actually abide in Christ. Instead, I'm tethered to the demands that barrage me through my smartphone. The Common Rule offers a practical way back―not only for individuals but also for churches and small groups." (Karen Heetderks Strong, senior director, The Falls Church Anglican, Falls Church, Virginia)

"Books are not meant to be just read. The good ones move you. The great ones change you. I'm now a fan of Justin Whitmel Earley. He's done something that is not so common: he teaches us eight habits that not only change our own lives but more importantly change the lives of those who choose to follow us." (Tommy Spaulding, author of The Heart-Led Leader and It's Not Just Who You Know)

"Justin Earley offers a lifeline to every busy, smartphone addicted, distracted person on earth. In his deeply personal and immensely practical book, he inspires us to find a rhythm that will support our most life-giving relationship of all―our friendship with Jesus." (Ken Shigematsu, pastor of Tenth Church, Vancouver, BC, author of Survival Guide for the Soul)

"In the spirit of Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson, and so many other reflective authors, this book on the common rule is an exciting contribution to the family God. Each of us needs and longs for a path to deepen our sense of being in this world. So many Christian writers just give us one more self-help book. The Common Rule breaks that mold and serves as a call to deeper intimacy with God." (Gary Bradley, The Navigators)

"Justin Whitmel Earley's honest walk through anxiety gives hope to anyone who needs a new way. The Common Rule becomes an accessible way to move forward in your walk with Christ, whether battling anxiety or simply wanting to find Christ at the center of your life. Earley's fresh look at a liturgical life comes off the page and into your daily life. This book is a refreshing reminder that community, shared meals, fasting, praying, silence, and rest all have deep effects on our lives. In a society of fast food and split families, the return to the table is more important than ever. Earley lived the fast-paced world of no margin where everyone has free access to his life, yet in the pages of this book, we see he has found another way–another way for us all." (Diana M. Shiflett, pastor of spiritual formation, Naperville Covenant Church, author of Spiritual Practices in Community)

"When someone asks how you're doing and you always find yourself answering, "So busy and crazy," it might be time for a change. The Common Rule offers practical wisdom on how to slowly but deliberately restructure our lives, and it shows us that when we embrace limitations, we paradoxically gain the freedom we long for." (John Dyer, author of From the Garden to the City: The Redeeming and Corrupting Power of Technology)

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