Richard Rohr splits the spiritual journey of life into two, the ego-centric first half of life and the soul-centric second half of life. You do not need to be chronologically middle-aged to read this book, but he suggests that your thirties are as early as you will likely be ready for the move into the second half of life (although it can happen) and many people do not make the change until much later, if at all.
The book is very easy to read in terms of the tone and flow of the text, but despite its relatively short length, it took me quite some time as I really needed time to process the philosophical concepts and wisdom on offer.
This really is the most wonderful text for Christians and others seeking spiritual maturity. Having said that, I think that Christians will be best able to grasp some of his reflections, due to the frequent quotes of the Bible and references to the teachings of Jesus.
He sums up the reactions of readers very succinctly, "For some of you, my quoting Jesus is the only way you will trust me; for others, it gives you more reasons to mistrust me, but I have to take both risks. If I dared to present all of these ideas simply as my ideas, or because they match modern psychology or old mythology, I would be dishonest. Jesus for me always clinches the deal, and I sometimes wonder why I did not listen to him in the first place."
Having said that, there are quotes from all sorts of teachings and literature and he casts his net wide for inspiration. Examples range from Buddhism to AA, from Homer to Carl Jung. I find this refreshing in a Christian author, not afraid to use other sources, so secure is he in his understanding of the second half of life which, as he himself explains, should be all-encompassing rather than condemning and exclusive.
There is so much wisdom that it is hard to pick on one or two topics that he covers with such skill, but for me, following my first reading, it would be that he sheds new light on suffering and its purpose and how the problem can very much form part of the solution. I found this invaluable and will carry that message with me forever.
I am in my thirties and I was delighted to read this book to help me along the journey into the second half of life and to start really living!