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Human Rites
The Power of Rituals, Habits, and Sacraments
Dru Johnson
Foreword by David Dark

PAPERBACK; Published: 2/21/2019
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7600-3
Price: $ 19.99
176 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 5.5 x 8.5
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What are we doing when we gather around the sacraments— or when we make the same breakfast every morning? Embodying rituals, says Dru Johnson. And until we understand what we’re doing and why, we won’t know how these rituals work, what they mean, or how we might adapt them.

In Human Rites Johnson considers the concept of ritual as seen in Scripture and its role in shaping our thinking. He colorfully illustrates both the mundane and the sacred rituals that penetrate all of life, offering not only a helpful introduction to rituals but also a framework for understanding them. As he unpacks how rituals pervade every area of our lives, Johnson suggests biblical ways to focus our use of rituals, habits, and sacraments so that we can see the world more truly through them.

Karen Swallow Prior
— author of On Reading Well and Fierce Convictions
“Rituals are so woven into our lives and in the universal order that it’s easy to let them go unnoticed. Dru Johnson opens our eyes, not only to the presence of rites and rituals in all areas of life but also to our need to be mindful of them. Human Rites is a compelling, challenging, and convicting read. We can’t rid our lives of rituals (nor would we want to), but we can and should heed their value and power.”
Tim Mackie
— Co-Creator of The Bible Project
“It’s high time for the word ‘ritual’ to be redeemed and rediscovered for all of its potential, and Dru Johnson is the one to do it! He has distilled current research in ritual theory and biblical studies and has given us a creative exploration of how our rituals shape our lives and moral imaginations. Prepare to rethink everything you thought you knew about religious rituals!”
Michael F. Bird
— Ridley College
“Human beings are creatures of habit, in particular, creatures of repetition and ritual. In this book, Dru Johnson shows us the importance of rituals, not just for life, but for the Christian life. Rituals give us scripts to follow to help us order our lives and to find meaning in a world that often appears mundane or overwhelming. Whether it is baptism or barbecue, Jewish Passover or a church potluck, Johnson shows you how extraordinary our ordinary feats of repetition turn out to be.”
Scott Sauls
— author of Jesus Outside the Lines and Irresistible Faith
“Whether consciously or unconsciously -- whether actively or passively -- we are all being formed by certain practices that we repeat again and again, also known as "rituals" or "rites." Whatever our daily or seasonal rites may be, they have an effect on us as well as the world around us. In Human Rites, Dru helps us discern the difference between rites that are healthy and life-giving and those that are not challenging us to lean into the former while forsaking the latter. As a constant work in process myself, I commend this helpful volume.”
Jonathan T. Pennington
— Southern Seminary
"Delightful, insightful, and engaging from start to finish! Dru Johnson has given us a thoughtful and accessible introduction to the deeply powerful reality of habits and rites in every aspect of our lives. He concludes by offering an immensely practical template to help us grow in practical wisdom as ritualized creatures. Highly recommended!"
Anthony B. Bradley
— The King’s College
“Dru Johnson masterfully destroys the myth that following Jesus is a ‘relationship not a religion.’ Not only do we learn how God blesses his people through traditions, rituals, liturgies, and religion, the book also teaches us why rituals matter to God and why it leads to spiritual thriving. This thought-provoking book teaches to us conform our everyday rituals to that which glorifies God. Human Rites is a game changer for the practice of Protestant Christianity.”
Peter Leithart
— Theopolis Institute
“Dru Johnson writes that we are ritualed creatures who live in a ritualed world. We mark occasions by ritual ‘re-making of the ordinary,’ and learn to see and come to know through ritual performances. Johnson draws a crucial distinction between scripted rites and improvized rites. Of scripted rituals, he urges us to ask who is doing the scripting, and he explores what happens when rites go wrong, go flimsy, or go dark. This superb book is an accessible guide that will help us take our ritual inventory and learn to distinguish between the voice of the serpent and the voice of God.”
Church Times
“Johnson ultimately offers a compelling case for slowing down and considering how rituals shape us and our understanding of the world, and for taking a deeper look at the daily practices that are forming us as Christians.”
Catholic Library World
“Candid and gently critical of the spiritual impoverishment of many contemporary Americans, including Christians, would-be Christians, and former Christians. There is much nourishment to be found by anyone interested in the human propensity and need to create rituals, whether in a secular or a religious environment.”