Review: The Ministry of Ordinary Places by Shannan Martin

One of the best things I’ve learned in the past six years of staying home is that glory is found in the ordinary. Maybe it’s that I became a mom at a time when we were busy rediscovering what Madeleine L’Engle and Kathleen Norris had found the generation before: That our deepest connection to spirituality happens in the small, quotidian spaces of our very ordinary lives. We encounter God in the rhythms of folding laundry, planning meals, and leaning into the tiredness of early motherhood.

In The Ministry of Ordinary Places, Shannan Martin adds her own observations to this practice of remembering that loving our neighbor means stepping out onto our front porch. That God’s goodness is found in taco meals and walking to school.

While I was reading The Ministry of Ordinary Places, I found myself nodding along and connecting with Martin’s story. We don’t interact with folks coming out of incarceration and addiction but we do interact with our very ordinary neighbors. Martin does a good job of bringing her reader into the story, regardless of the similarities. I appreciate that I could connect even though the details may look different.

But when I put the book down, I’d easily forget about it. The lessons and takeaways just didn’t stay with me. I have a feeling this is a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” Some books come to us at exactly the right time and this can make the most ordinary of books life-changing. Because so many of my peers have written about the ordinary spaces of life, I’ve immersed myself in this thinking. This was a good book but Martin didn’t push my thinking or make me respond with any life altering epiphanies.

I think this is fine. Some books are good in-the-moment reads. Not all books should be life-changing. (That would be exhausting!) If you’re looking for a good reminder of living a neighborly life, I’d recommend The Ministry of Ordinary Places. The very ordinariness of this book is what gives it strength.

What books have helped you remember your ordinary place? How do you connect with the everyday moments of life?

I received this book free from the publisher via BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion. Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 

4 thoughts on “Review: The Ministry of Ordinary Places by Shannan Martin

  1. Interesting Annie. I responded the same way about that book. On the other hand, I didn’t read Glory Happening when Red Couch did. Again it didn’t grab me. But then I met Kaitlin at Evolving Faith and ordered her book as soon as I got home. I’m reading it every day. Madeleine has also connected me with the ordinary. I’ve read all of her books at least twice.

    1. It’s hard to review books like this, isn’t it? It just wasn’t good for me at this moment. Though sometimes I wonder if it’s because Madeleine et al have spoiled us a bit? šŸ˜‰

  2. Most recently, it was Barbara Brown Taylor’s book, Leaving Church, that I connected with. Similar vocations and impending change that she documented so well. Our stage of life seems to guide us with books as it does in so many things. I’m so glad they’re authors writing at so many different stages.

    1. Right? It’s a reminder to be thankful for all the voices – we need to hear certain things by certain people at certain times. That’s abundance, right there! I’m glad you read BBT when you needed her most – she does give such encouragement!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.