Living into Focus

Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distractions

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase

More Options


In today's high-speed culture, there's a prevailing sense that we are busier than ever before and that the pace of life is too rushed. Most of us can relate to the feeling of having too much to do and not enough time for the people and things we value most. We feel fragmented, overwhelmed by busyness and the tyranny of gadgets.

Veteran pastor and teacher Arthur Boers offers a critical look at the isolating effects of modern life that have eroded the centralizing, focusing activities that people used to do together. He suggests ways to make our lives healthier and more rewarding by presenting specific individual and communal practices that help us focus on what really matters. These practices--such as shared meals, gardening, hospitality, walking, prayer, and reading aloud--bring our lives into focus and build community. The book includes questions for discernment and application.
Foreword by Eugene H. Peterson
Part 1: Focus Matters

1. Stumbling into Focus
2. Awe and Inspiration
3. Focal Connectedness
4. Focal Centering and Orienting Power
Part 2: Losing Our Focus
5. Going on the ALERT
6. Attenuated Attention and Systemic Distraction
7. Eliminating Limits and Endangering Taboos
8. Eroding Engagement
9. Remote Relationships
10. Taxed Time
11. Sundering Space
Part 3: Finding Our Focus
12. Finding and Funding Focal Fundamentals


"For many years now, [Arthur Boers] has embraced [Albert] Borgmann's passion for living a generous life. . . . This book is his personal witness to the practices that develop into a life of wealth, of generous abundance."--Eugene H. Peterson, Regent College (from the foreword)

"It's one thing to clear a piece of land, move the rocks, rake the soil, and protect it with a fence. It's another to bring it to life with berry-bearing bushes, exuberant tubers, vigorous vegetables, and many-splendored flowers. It's that second thing that Arthur Boers has done; he's taken a theory and made it fruitful."--Albert Borgmann, University of Montana

"Arthur Boers has written an insightful, wise, and practical book for people who are feeling exhausted, bored, fragmented, or simply lost in a world of unending busyness and distraction. It is a gift for all of us who want to focus our lives on the places, people, and practices that deeply matter and that give honor to God."--Norman Wirzba, research professor of theology, ecology, and rural life, Duke Divinity School

"I've been waiting for someone to write this important book. Herein Arthur Boers alerts us to the astonishingly overlooked 'quiet desperation' afflicting our lives through the incessant distractions offered by our technological age. And he offers us practices that make space for grace and beauty and focus, which is to say, practices that create the sort of wealth that is the true longing of humankind."--Lee C. Camp, author of Who is My Enemy? and host of

"This is an essential book for people of faith who don't want to drown in a culture of distraction. If you read it in a group, it will generate lively discussion. If you read it with your family, it will change the way you live together. And if you read it alone, it will produce some serious soul-searching. This book is a life raft in a sea of words."--Lillian Daniel, coauthor of This Odd and Wondrous Calling: The Public and Private Lives of Two Ministers and author of Tell It Like It Is: Reclaiming the Practice of Testimony

The Author

  1. Arthur Boers

    Arthur Boers

    Arthur Boers (DMin, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate professor and R. J. Bernardo Family Chair of Leadership at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario. He served as a pastor for sixteen years and is the award-winning author of numerous...

    Continue reading about Arthur Boers


Word Guild 2012 Canadian Christian Writing Award

"[Boers] offers a needed antidote to the way of life he maintains has hijacked our humanity: technology addiction. . . . He defines the distraction of technology as low-threshold activity (or better, non-activity) that diminishes humans and breaks down connectedness to people and one's sense of place. . . . The commitment to reverse this fragmentation is what he calls 'eccentric faithfulness': stay connected to those in our families and communities face to face, heart to heart. That takes 'focal practices' that demand more but render intangible returns--the ballast of authentic belonging. . . . The book is lengthy and tightly written, and makes demands of the reader for patience. But that, one presumes, is precisely the point."--Publishers Weekly

"Recommend Living into Focus for personal enrichment and group discussion."--Elaine Raxon, CBA Retailers + Resources

"Boers does an admirable job of translating Borgmann's theories in a way that honors their complexity. . . . Living into Focus is . . . the most potentially transformative book on technology and faith that I've read, and it is one that individual readers, small groups, and churches should not ignore, in part because it moves beyond diagnosis to ask the question of how we should then live. . . . Pastors will find Boers's reflections on worship technologies, e-mailed prayer requests, and parishioners' technology-saturated lives especially thought-provoking."--Valerie Weaver-Zercher, Christian Century

"In this book, Boers can describe in detail how our society is obsessed with technology, by drawing out the historical context . . . and noting the scary stats. . . . But Boers brings something new to the table: a practical, pastoral approach that draws heavily on the work of philosopher Albert Borgmann. Boers offers spiritual approaches to these problems, most notably the idea of 'focal practices.'. . . One of my favorite points is when Boers suggests that Christians should be 'eccentric,' having different centers than other people in society. Another great thing about this book is that Boers manages to navigate this close-to-home topic in a cheerful, humble tone. . . . I'd recommend Living into Focus as a good book to re-set your ideas about technology."--Ali Symons, The Community: A Ministry of the Anglican Church of Canada blog

"I welcome Boers' contribution to a conversation that is about more than hours wasted away watching television, playing video games, texting, tweeting, emailing--whatever your technological Achilles heel is. Rather, it's a conversation about what we value in life, and how those big values need to shape our everyday decisions about how we spend our time. . . . The book finds its own pleasant balance between theory and practical realities, offering tips for managing technology. . . . This is a significant and readable book for any person of faith wanting to at least consider how we might actually be servants of technology, instead of the other way around."--Karen Stiller, Faith Today

"I found the book easy to read, well-written, and structured in a helpful way, such that I did not want to put the book down until I had completed reading a chapter. . . . This book is worth your time to read. It will challenge you, and make you reflect on your life as it is now. We all can stand to experience growth, and this book will help you do just that."--Jeff Loach, Presbyterian Record

"A very interesting book. . . . This book not only met my expectations, but also exceeded them in a number of ways. I was pleasantly surprised by the writing style of Arthur Boers. . . . The cadence of the book and the easy manner of Boers' story telling was a meandering experience. He talked often about walking and I soon felt as though I were listening to him share his experiences as I walked along with him. It was an unusual writing style to what I normally read, but in a delightful way. . . . I was especially charmed by the tempo and style of this book. The sum of the whole was a very peaceful and restful read . . . and very insightful. . . . Boers has presented weary travelers a wonderful respite in his Living into Focus. I would recommend it very highly."--Jeff Borden, iCrucified blog

"We need voices that will provide wisdom as we embark on untraveled lanes and unexplored paths. We need theology that keeps apace with our use of technology. . . . Many enthusiasts of media technology may disagree with the value system Boers promotes. This is exactly why technology fans should read this book. . . . Living into Focus is not an anti-technology tirade. But it will certainly call us to reconsider our daily embrace with technology. And that is good thing."--Andy Byers, BigBible

"This book helps us find boundaries for the technology that is so prevalent and we're so dependent upon (and can really end up consuming our time)--and what we're being distracted from. It gets us to think about focal practices such as making meals together, taking walks, reading regularly, daily chores--things that make us slow down and feel the rhythm of our lives."--Buddy Greene, Homecoming

"Living into Focus offers a wonderful, extended wake-up call to see how our technological society has deeply affected and often deformed or cheapened our lives. . . . Boers never suggests that technology per se is evil, nor does he invite us all to move out into rural communes. His message, so biblical, so appropriate today, is to be thoughtful and aware and make space and time in our lives for what is truly important. This book gets an 'A.'"--David W. Gill, Mockler Memo (Mockler Center for Faith & Ethics in the Workplace, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

"As we cross the threshold into full immersion in the Digital Age, this book could be a game-changer for us and for the kids we know and love. It's better than any blood pressure medication on the market."--Walt Mueller, learning my lines blog

"Boers interprets Borgmann's opus for a Christian readership. While Borgmann offers a framework, Boers presents a constructive, theologically grounded response to the onslaught of technology."--Geez Magazine