“You can do this dance! I’m sure even God does the hokey pokey once in a while. Get in a circle!”

Calling. It’s a word that gets tossed around a lot, especially in the world of American Christian culture. We look for it, discover it, follow it, and (all too often) lose sight of it. And for the most part, many of us would just like a Old-Testament-style sign from God to show us just what “it” is.

This idea of calling is the starting point for Matthew Paul Turner’s upcoming book Hokey Pokey: Curious People Finding What Life’s All About. But warning: this book is no burning bush… it’s more like a collection of stories and thoughts that ponder the journey we all face of learning, well… just what “it’s all about.”

Hokey Pokey explores the nature of real calling with light, conversational anecdotes laced with just enough sarcastic, good-natured humor. And the biggest strength of this book is that it never attempts to lay out a plan to find your purpose and have a wonderful, fulfilling life in a few easy steps. Instead, Matthew presents life as a story, as a series of experiences that “point to a greater significance.” Life is a path for curious people, and through these stories he shares valuable insights on a wide range of subjects, from freedom in curiosity, to the importance of mentors, to waiting on God for changes (and how to cope when they finally come!).

In addition to the storytelling approach, the chapters are broken up with questions to reflect on and the occasional interview with “curious people.” These short interludes are easily skipped, but they provide a moment to really pause and think about how the point of each chapter applies to your own life. In this way, it might drift just a little bit into “self-help” territory, but never in an overly distracting or instructional way.

The Donald Miller comparisons are inevitable, but hey — I’d say that’s a compliment! Reading this book was a lot like reading Blue Like Jazz, with less focus on the memoir and more on the spiritual truths in the stories. And this book rings with truth; I dare you to get through the pages without a moment of, “wow, I am so right there.” It’s the sort of book that comes with you like a good friend, and shows you where you’ve been to hint at where you’re going.

This is one of those books that truly resonated with me in more ways than I expected, and I can’t recommend it enough, no matter where you are on the curious path of life.

Hokey Pokey is available in stores April 1. More of Matthew Paul Turner’s writing can be found at his blog, Jesus Needs New PR.

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