SOUL PASSION: Embracing Your Life's Ultimate Purpose
What do you love enough to die for?
That's the question professor and philosopher Ramesh Richard asks in his latest book, SOUL PASSION. The first installment in The Intentional Life Trilogy, SOUL PASSION encourages the Christian reader to restructure his or her personal existence from aimless, random living to what Richard calls "intentional" living. The author envisions Christians who eschew mediocre, unexamined lives and consciously seek to do God's will. And the first step is identifying one's passion.
"Passion and intentionality are verbal and existential synonyms. Nobody follows passion unintentionally, or it wouldn't be passion. The first constituent of the intentional life, of the supreme purpose, is passion, for one chooses the ultimate object of his love. People choose what they are willing to live and die for, suffer and sacrifice for … True passion considers the cost but still pursues the object passionately. That kind of passion launches intentional living with core love permeating every part of life. Your passion gives you convictions about what is ultra-important to you, the criteria by which all of life is driven, gains energy, and continues."
This passion is the foundation of the metaphorical building that is an intentional life and Richard goes on to describe its components, encourage its wise development, and offer reminders to nurture it. As in Scripture, Richard emphasizes that it is Christ who should be our foundation --- our true passion.
The author's insights are at their most keen when they expose our tendency to mistake activity for purpose, motion for intentionality. His lengthy introduction systematically attempts to create purpose apart from Christ, and he spends a great deal of time describing what an intentional life is not before delving into what an intentional life is.
"Systematic" is an apt description of SOUL PASSION. While Richard offers many illustrations of his ideas, the book's outline is in clear view and can at times feel like a primer for a fill-in-the-blank exam. The author, an internationally known professor and doctor of philosophy, has obviously tried to write in an accessible manner, but there are inadvertent flexes of his academic muscle reflected in his systematic format and some vocabulary (nomenclature, ontological, etc.). The tradeoff is a more comprehensive look at the philosophical and biblical understanding of different approaches to life than most books in the genre offer.
These characteristics of the book may be strengths or weaknesses depending on the proclivities of the individual reader, but they do little to obscure what is a fundamentally sound approach to building a personal foundation for the Christian life. The final two books in The Intentional Life Trilogy, SOUL MISSION (due out in February) and SOUL VISION, promise to continue Richard's "life as a building" metaphor and provide guidance for developing a thriving ground floor (mission) and defining the superstructure (vision).
So, what is your passion? What do you love enough to die for? These are questions worth answering, and Richard has authored a tool to help fill in the blanks.
--- Reviewed by Lisa Ann Cockrel
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