Sensing God Book Review
by author, Joel Clarkson
I have long been a listener to famed homeschool parent and author Sally Clarkson and her podcast At Home With Sally. Her words drip with encouragement for parents with children of any age (including adult children) as she shares the struggles and joys of both raising children in the Christian faith and homeschooling over many decades.
Over the years, I’ve discovered that all of her four homeschool-graduated children are creative in unique ways, and I’ve gone on to follow their work as well. It is challenging, relevant, and unique within their own skill-sets and personalities. The child I “knew” the least about was Joel.
He is perhaps most well-known for his narration in The Green Ember series; or even his compositions and music on Spotify, but his debut book, Sensing God, was as beautiful as his melodies, and just the right read to put me back in touch with the physical manifestations of joy and creation after a very long and draining season.
Joel writes about music, story, nature, feasting, fine arts, and more, and brings in examples in every chapter of ‘high’ and ‘low’ artistry in these avenues. He points back to the Creator God, who first demonstrated beauty in the senses by creating. Joel encourages the reader to fully indulge and delight in these experiences throughout our lives as a form of worship.
I am not someone who is known for ‘feeling’. I have a stiff upper lip and work through my to-do list and life as a general. My husband’s nickname for me, “Spartan wife”, can be painfully accurate. As I read through Sensing God, I know that on more than one occasion my posture relaxed. Clarkson had me looking up composers I’d never heard, just to play the song mentioned in the chapter while making breakfast. I researched art that I was given context to; grasping the visual meaning and my soul feeling richer in the meantime. My mind and my spirit were engaged and fed through each chapter. It felt joyful.
I am going to read through this book again this upcoming Advent and will be pairing it with my second year of feasting on the visual images, poetry/music, and the context written by students and faculty of Biola University’s Advent Project.
If you are feeling parched from this past season, and need some spiritual refreshment that is both beautiful and meaty, I strongly recommend Sensing God to help recalibrate your heart and mind; and worship God in the many ways He has gifted us through the senses.
My name is Sarah Mast and I homeschool my two kids in Ft. Langley, BC. One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is the community gained, and I volunteer with a local support group to help foster that and connect others. My family loves the outdoors and traveling, and our weekends include skiing, swimming, hiking, or biking depending on the season. I found Classical Education Books at a conference and noticed their well-curated selection of children’s books. I kept tabs on their collection of the classics and hard-to-find books and reached out. Now I get to help customers hone their collections, and work on the ever-growing inventory here at CEB!