Thursday, March 29, 2007
Mike Mason, "Champagne For The Soul"
Break out the bubbly! Soul Food Friend Mike Mason wrote a book a few years ago about his experiment with joy, a ninety-day adventure to see if he could "break my addiction to the cheap wine of melancholy and seek champagne for the soul."
The bubbly (and paradoxically substantial) volume went out of print, but word is just out that Regent College Publishing are publishing the reprint! It's not yet available on their website, but in the meantime you can snag yourself a copy through amazon.
(Now if only somebody would get on the stick and publish Mike's masterwork, a novel, THE BLUE UMBRELLA. I'm not kidding: better than champagne, better than furniture, better even than marriage or job...)
Congrats, Mike. And a tip of the hat to Regent Publishing!
"The injunction 'Get real' usually means 'Leave your world of fantasy and return to what really is.' True Realism always and everywhere is to find out where joy resides. In the past year this magical gift got lost or mislaid in my life. Mike Mason has located it, given it voice, and helped me to recover it. Even one sip of Champagne for the Soul is a heady, exhilarating experience." -Brennan Manning, author of A Glimpse of Jesus: The Stranger to Self-Hatred If you were given the chance to be happy for the rest of your life, wouldn't you jump at it? In Champagne for the Soul, bestselling author Mike Mason explains that the Bible does make this offer. Yet most of us hang back, reluctant and skeptical. Theologically most Christians will agree that the Bible teaches and offers a life of joy; yet deep down we're not convinced that such a life is practical-for us or any ordinary person. But, says Mason, such joy truly is ours to claim and embrace. What you now hold in your hands is a call to throw off all worries and complaints and to "come and share your master's happiness" (Matthew 25:21). Is it possible to live every day in joy? You will never know if you don't try. These pages, drawn from the author's own ninety-day experiment in actively pursuing joy, will lead you on a journey that will help you-no matter what your circumstances-to escape the trap of worry, fear, and dullness and grab hold of the joy of the Lord. Mike Mason is the best-selling author of several books, including The Mystery of Marriage, The Mystery of Children, The Gospel According to Job, and Practicing the Presence of People. He and his wife, Karen, an M.D. in general practice, live in Langely, British Columbia, Canada, with their teenage daughter, Heather.
By his own admission, Mason (The Mystery of Children) isn't a happy person by nature. A recovering alcoholic who had lived most of his life in a state of anxious, borderline depression, Mason realized that a lingering, low-grade melancholy was his last line of defense against the love of God. In this 90-day experiment, he sets out to see if he can "break my addiction to the cheap wine of melancholy... [and] seek champagne for the soul." His 90 short essays, each prefaced by a verse from Scripture about joy, chronicle his quest to find the happiness buried in the ordinary world of laundry to be done, errands to be run, meetings to attend and the general muck and mire of the human condition. Over the course of his experiment Mason discovers simple truths about joy: to find it you must discover a solid sense of identity, face crippling fears, offer thanks when you don't feel like it and try something new. Metaphors abound, and his passion is infectious as he helps demystify joy for the reader. At the end of his experiment, Mason finds that the deepest joys come out of the blue for no discernible reason, because "God Himself is all goodness and all rightness and because the depths of His joy surpass all understanding." Christians of all denominations will be inspired to sample this foamy elixir, sipping from its wisdom slowly and finding fresh ways to discover joy in everyday circumstances.