Finding Freedom in Constraint: Reimagining Spiritual Disciplines as a Communal Way of Life, By Jared Patrick Boyd alt

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: 272 pages
  • Published: September 12, 2023
  • Imprint: IVP Formatio
  • Item Code: A0432
  • ISBN: 9781514004326

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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

"In a world of excess and distraction, constant demands for our attention, and moral confusion, Jared's book is an invaluable resource for the church, not only for those who have a natural leaning toward simplicity and introspection but especially for those who do not. Finding Freedom in Constraint is accessible, conversational, and funny. It is filled with wisdom and guidance for incorporating these ancient, life-giving practices into our hearts and our intentionally developed communities. Jared doesn't shy away from engaging the difficult topics in our culture but instead holds them with a gentle, thoughtful, and humble hand that we are wise to emulate."

Jay Pathak, national director of Vineyard USA

"Jared Patrick Boyd has written a beautiful book that enlivened my love for Jesus and made me want to live by greater constraint, a strange but honest statement. But the accessible, tangible way Jared articulates constraint gives vision for the good to run wild. I know this book's author to be a man who has lived his message, who writes not only from his head but even more profoundly from his heart and his bones. If you want a vision for robust, countercultural formation to Jesus—an ancient way in a modern world—look no further than Finding Freedom in Constraint."

Tyler Staton, lead pastor at Bridgetown Church and national director of 24-7 Prayer USA

"Boyd's vocation to bridge Christian traditions shines through the pages of this book. He is a Vineyard pastor who loves Ignatius of Loyola, John Cassian, and Saint Benedict. He is a charismatic who cherishes the contemplative tradition of the church. Somehow in his insightful telling, these diverse streams of the Christian faith fit together harmoniously. This book does a great service to the church by showing charismatics and Pentecostals how the constraint that characterizes monastic practice offers joy, flourishing, and faithfulness."

Tish Harrison Warren, Anglican priest and author of Liturgy of the Ordinary and Prayer in the Night

"Jared Boyd lays a new foundation for spiritual formation by directing us back to the old resources of the monastic tradition of finding freedom within the ever-present reality of constraints. And along the way, Jared helps us shift from a focus on the individual toward a more communal view of spiritual practices."

Geoff Holsclaw, author of Does God Really Like Me? and cohost of the Embodied Faith podcast

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Todd Hunter

Part One: The Shape of Constraint
1. River, the Womb, and Hearth: A Meditation on the Constraints of the Church
2. Freedom: A Meditation on the Journey to Our Healing
3. Constraint: A Meditation on the Education of Love and Humility
4. Practicing Constraint: Choosing and Consenting

Part Two: 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

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

Final Word: Weeds and Wheat


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Jared Patrick Boyd

Jared Patrick Boyd is a pastor (Vineyard USA), spiritual director, and founding director of the Order of the Common Life, a missional monastic order reimagining religious vocations for the 21st century. In local pastoral ministry he works to bring together the contemplative, charismatic, and sacramental streams of the church. Jared and his wife have four daughters and live in the west-side neighborhood of Franklinton in Columbus, Ohio. He is the author of Imaginative Prayer and Finding Freedom in Constraint.