Finding Freedom in Constraint

Finding Freedom in Constraint

Reimagining Spiritual Disciplines as a Communal Way of Life

by Jared Patrick Boyd
Foreword by Todd Hunter

Finding Freedom in Constraint
  • Length: 288 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: September 12, 2023
  •  Forthcoming
  • ISBN: 978-1-5140-0431-9
  • Item Code: A0431

The constraints of the spiritual life, practiced in community, are what set us free. Practicing spiritual disciplines can seem difficult, especially when we undertake them as isolated individuals. But we were never meant to practice them alone.

Jared Patrick Boyd reveals how the constraints practiced in Christian community shape us into the way of Christ. He re-anchors the practices of constraint within the ascetic tradition of monasticism, religious orders, and the early church fathers. Boyd writes, "The constraints of a rule of life are what make life together, lived for one another, possible. A rule of life is not meant to be primarily personal, but communal. It's not primarily meant to guide my life. It is meant to describe our way of life together." Constraint is the practice of learning to pay deeper attention to the things in our inner world that prevent us from progressing in the school of love.

Discover a deep conversation on freedom and constraint with six core practices of constraint that can form in us a greater freedom to be and become people who love as God loves. Enter into this vision with your local community (in small groups, church leadership teams, or families), and learn to make greater room to experience the love of God.

"With the publishing of Finding Freedom in Constraint, you can get both insight into and a taste of the possibilities of a well-ordered life. But be prepared for surprising revelations, for counterintuitive insights along the ancient and sacred path to spirituality in the way of Jesus. . . . As you begin to turn the pages to hear Jared's voice, I want you to relax. A well-ordered life that others experience as for their good awaits you as you practice what Jared teaches: the intelligent, grace-based practices of ancient and anointed Christian spirituality."

Todd Hunter, Anglican bishop and founder of the Center for Formation, Justice and Peace, from the foreword

"Christianity proposes not so much a set of beliefs as a way of life, a bid for the total transformation and fulfillment of human existence. Jared Boyd, a wise and experienced pastor, unpacks this proposal with insight, fervor, and a gracious sensitivity to contemporary questions and concerns. This book will be for many a welcome challenge and summons to a holistic encounter with God in Christ."

Wesley Hill, associate professor of New Testament at Western Theological Seminary

"The deeply spiritual life is one of release and abandonment, learning how to let go, die to self, and live the abundant life, all within healthy boundaries of love. This is so contrary to the world's way of accumulation, domination, and self-absorption. The ancient fathers and mothers of our faith point us in this direction with humility and grace, and so does Jared Boyd. Reflect deeply and intentionally on the contents herein and watch how your spiritual horizons expand as the freedom of constraint takes root in your soul."

Stephen A. Macchia, founder of Leadership Transformations and director of the Pierce Center at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary



Part 1
1. The Church: River, Womb, Hearth
2. Freedom
3. Constraint
4. Practicing Constraint

Part 2
Constraints We Choose
5. Solitude and Silence: Choosing the Constraint of the Present Moment
6. Simplicity: Choosing the Constraint of Our Attention
7. Marriage and Celibacy: Choosing the Constraint of Love

Constraints We Consent To
8. Formational Healing: Consenting to the Constraints of Our Own Story
9. Faults and Affirmations: Consenting to the Constraint of What Is True
10. Discernment Within Community: Consenting to the Constraints of One Another

Final Word: Weeds and Wheat


Jared Patrick Boyd

Jared Patrick Boyd is the founder and director of the Order of the Common Life, where he leads the vision and formation for reimagining religious vocations for the twenty-first century. He offers spiritual direction to pastors and leaders, and also serves as a pastor at The Abbey, a Vineyard church seeking to bring together the contemplative, charismatic, and sacramental traditions. Jared is the author of Imaginative Prayer and lives with his wife, Jaime, and four daughters in Columbus, Ohio.