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Practicing Balance

How Congregations Can Promote Harmony in Work and Life
Published:   September 2012
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Work-life imbalance is a problem that has personal, national, and religious implications. Millions of Americans sense that they are rushing through life and that their work and non-work lives compete with one another.  Clergy and lay leaders are struggling with overwork.  Church members are looking for help. Practicing Balance demonstrates why congregational leaders should take work-life imbalance seriously. The issue gets in the way of spiritual development, church attendance, and member involvement. As leaders look to help their congregations grow, particularly by attracting families with children, they would do well to understand and account for the problem. 

If you are struggling with finding balance in life, this book can help. Practicing Balance contains ideas and experiences that can help church members and all people develop spiritual practices for a healthy life. It tackles the time crunch challenges that are threatening so many families. It can help Christians realize God's calling for their life and how the way they use their time and set their schedules can draw them closer to God.


“This book on religion and work-life needed to be written and must be read. David Gray offers profound redefinitions, insightful questions for reflection, and extremely helpful advice about how religious practices can make us live calmer and more purposeful lives.”

Ellen Galinsky, president, Families and Work Institute and author of Mind in the Making

“David Gray’s work is not just a handbook for the new generation of American Church leaders, he offers us a refreshing testimony to the way spiritual practice and flexibility can ensure the high wire act of balancing work inside and outside the home becomes—truly—a closer walk with God.”

Chloe Breyer, executive director, The Interfaith Center of New York; associate priest at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in New York; and author of The Close.

“I wish I had read this book when my children were young. David Gray tackles a fundamental 21st century challenge: how can workplaces provide needed flexibility so parents can mindfully and effectively meet the demands of work and family? Practicing Balance is a compelling, insightful, and joyous meditation on how parents and their employers can successfully address this challenge.”

Kathleen Christensen, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, New York, New York

“Many people in the political world look at things as an either/or. There’s often little room to explore common ground….David Gray has opened our eyes to shared interests and circumstance…. It provides a road map to the critical work-life tensions so many of us struggle with and illuminates a meaningful path forward.”

Katie Corrigan, policy director, Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, Georgetown University

“Showing how religious communities can help lessen the work-family conflicts confronting families in an increasingly hurried world, David Gray breathes fresh air into a stale debate. Practicing Balance is must reading for anyone who cares about religion’s role in supporting more humane and egalitarian options for time-squeezed men and women.”

Kathleen Gerson, professor of sociology, New York University and author of The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family

“For increasing communities of American culture, religious life is overwhelmed by secular busyness and complexity. Families hungry for faith are struggling to survive the flood. David Gray sees this silent tsunami and offers a lifeboat of ancient practice to carry church leaders forward to a faith filled habitable land.”

Gareth W. Icenogle, pastor, The West Side Presbyterian Church, Ridgewood, New Jersey

“I didn’t expect John Calvin to provide the perfect mantra for work/life balance: “Rest, in order that God might work.” This book by a practicing pastor in the capital of workaholic self-importance is a solid, practical resource to help clergy and their congregations find still waters and restore their souls.”

David McAllister-Wilson, president, Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC