Joanna Weaver uses the Biblical characters, Mary and Martha, to discuss developing a closer relationship with Jesus. Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World is well written and relatable with personal stories and a lot of references to other books and material.

For the first few chapters, I found the book insightful, helpful and encouraging. Then for a few chapters, the book became quite legalistic, even reducing our relationship with God to a formula: Prayer + the Word of God + Time = Intimacy with God. If developing a relationship with God was this straightforward and simple, there would be no need for books on the topic! Later the book returns to being more gracious. The change of tone was jarring. Did Joanna feel the need to add a bit of discipline? Perhaps this was aimed at new Christians just getting started with establishing a quiet time, if so, this wasn’t explained.

I also felt that though while Joanna did write about the many obstacles that keep us from intimacy, I felt she didn’t focus on the main obstacle, which is our attitude. How badly do we want intimacy with God? Are we prepared to make sacrifices to achieve it?

Nevertheless, despite these criticisms, Joanna does include a lot of valuable material, which makes it a worthwhile read.