Dwelling – Donna Lane

Dwelling by Donna E. Lane
on October 5, 2021
Genres: Non-Fiction, Devotional
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Jesus said He was going to make ready a dwelling place for you (John 14:2-3). But where is His dwelling place? In heaven? In your heart?
The answer is both.
Dwelling explores the transformational experience received through deepening relationship with Christ. Using imagery, symbolism, story, and an abundance of Scripture, and combining the best knowledge in neurology and psychology with impassioned Biblical analysis, Dwelling leads you into a deep dive of personal exploration and growth in faith, taking the reader by the hand and leading them to the path of partnership with Christ to prepare for His indwelling.
While other books might offer a list of steps or suggest simplistic answers to complex issues, Dwelling faces those issues head-on, without fear, and challenges you to look in the mirror and acknowledge the hard work you and Jesus must do together to achieve holiness and live in the Kingdom of God.
In Dwelling you will:
Discover the path to your new dwellingLearn how Jesus prepares your heartChallenge your old ways of thinking, feeling, and actingEstablish a new foundation built on oneness with ChristRebuild new patterns using God’s materialsAnchor yourself in the pillars of love, faith, and freedomThrough these truths, Dwelling enlightens both believers and nonbelievers in how to live in the Kingdom of God now.
"In an encouraging and inspiring way, Dr. Lane has reframed all of the typical, western, Christian 'shoulds and should nots' into an integrated life path. It provides followers of the Biblical Jesus with a series of intentional steps to building up 'spiritual homes' worthy of Christ. Her insight, psychological information, and 'real world' examples facilitate the use of Dwelling as a guide for any believer or 'seeker' to construct a life in Christ for now and for eternity." Dr. Taylor and Susan Field, founders of Graffiti Ministries and authors of the Upside Down Life series.

What comes to mind when you hear the world Dwelling? For me, I get this impression of burrowing in, a deep sort of residing, a warm and inviting presence of permanence. For Donna Lane, Dwelling brings to mind a promised land, a home with God. For most of us, that moves us toward heaven, but Lane reminds us that Kingdom of God is now among us—God dwells with us. So dwelling works both ways. We seek a future dwelling with him, but for now God’s dwelling is within us. And we are called to grow in that dwelling.

One concern I have, and an area where I wish Lane had provided more clarity, was her theology of salvation. Early on the book, she suggests that it is unlikely that we will reach “full maturation” in our spiritual journey by the end of our physical lives. Instead, “When you arrive in heaven, you may be far along the passage leading to your heavenly dwelling, or you may still have some distance to go” (p. 10-11). She further implies that those who have entered heaven with a ways yet to go will have to work to earn an experience “closer to…the full glory of their Kingdom dwelling” (11). It’s a complicated and obtuse view that, in my opinion, doesn’t understand either heaven or salvation properly. While the majority of the book is focused on sanctification—the act of becoming more holy in this life—Dwelling’s insinuations about glorification tinge the purpose of sanctification with a works-based goal of being closer to the “full experience” in heaven. It’s possible that I’m reading Lane incorrectly, but if not it changes the whole outlook on her Dwelling concept.

Overall, Dwelling is at its best when working within Lane’s academic and professional niche of grief and trauma counseling. It’s not as great with contextualizing its use of Scripture or coherently explaining its theology. Unfortunately, the focus is mostly on the theology with Lane tossing out Scripture haphazardly, showing a good knowledge of Scripture but not a great command over it. For example, she cites God’s great and unfailing love by referencing in-text fifty different verses. The parenthetical reference takes up four entire lines on the page. There are 14 other Bible references on that page. That one page. Any lesson gets lost amid the pile of contextless verses thrown in one after the other. Apparently, the author has written (according to her website) some critically-acclaimed texts in her professional field. If so, that writing ability hasn’t transferred to this devotional.