Living into Focus:
Choosing What Matters
in an Age of Distractions.
Review by Maria Drews
There are times when I look back and cannot remember what I have been doing for the last hour. Jumping from one activity to the next, making something in the kitchen while cleaning up the living room, playing the Colbert Report on my laptop in the background and attempting to answer a few nagging emails on my phone before dinner is done. Instead of efficient multitasking, I end up with a half-cleaned living room, a poorly timed dinner, emails left to reply to before bed, and an episode of Colbert I barely listened to, even though I heard the whole thing. I may be more easily distracted than I would like to admit. Funny thing is, although I long for a focused, full, good life, I’ll probably opt for the same distracted evening tomorrow night, too.
Pastor, professor, and avid hiker, Arthur Boers, seems to feel the pain of this pattern, too. And it is into our distracted lives that he writes his new book, Living into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions.
Boers combines theory with personal experience and stories to paint a picture of the focused living we long for, the distracted living we often opt for, and the practices we can use to move from the latter to the former. Boers’ book moves in two directions, pulling us towards focused living and pushing us from distracted living. The strength of Boers’ work is his ability to see focused and distracted living through the lens of practices, instead of abstract ideas, allowing us to form concrete solutions to our distracted living.
Boers begins his book by urging us to adopt “focal practices,” those practices that help center our lives on what is meaningful, moving, and illuminating. He lists examples such as eating meals together, gardening, making music together, and his favorite example, hiking. We intuitively know these practices for ourselves; the practices that have connecting and orienting power. A little time spent drawing outside, a long dinner with a friend, or a run in the rain, and I find myself rooted in what is good, real, connected, and meaningful. Boers opens Living into Focus by teaching us three things about these focal practices:
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