Oh to sit and read all day…

 

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Well, I just thought, it’s the weekend, it’s still cool out, and what better way to spend your day than reading.  Here are a few of my recent favorites that you might want to check out:

Prison Ministry:  Understanding Prison Culture Inside and Out by Lennie Spitale – this week, God has placed on my heart a desire to help out the less fortunate and to bring the gospel to them.  It scared me at first.  My view of people in prison has been created by television and movies – large, tattooed, loud, crass, murderous people.  I put this to my Spiritual Director this week and he helped me to reframe my approach and my preconceived notions.  I was then led to this book and I am finding it SOOO fascinating.  It speaks of incarceration from the point of view of a prisoner, and is written by a former prisoner who is now a minister.  A truly wonderful and eye-opening read.

Inmates are not different from anyone else; they simply live in a different culture.  We have all sinned, and not person is the sum total of the sins he or she has committed…there is more to us than that.

Surrender to Love:  Discovering the Heart of Christian Spirituality by David G. Benner

A beautiful and comforting book showing how love for and surrender to God are both necessary for a full relationship with Him.  My favorite passage from the whole book is this analogy of us letting go…with the Spirit being a river and us floating in it:

  It is no wonder that I long for rest.  Trying to stay afloat and move through the water on my own energy satisfies my willful sense of independence, but it leaves me exhausted.  And I never seem to get where I think I should be going.

Then, in exhaustion, I momentarily surrender.  I relax.  I allow my full weight to be supported by the Spirit.  And not only do I float, I flow with the current.  I hadn’t been aware that there was a current.  My thrashing about in the water made me oblivious to its presence and force.  Now I begin to know what I was fighting.

To fail to go with the flow is to try to push the river.  But the river – God’s Spirit – does not need any help.

Holy Listening:  The Art of Spiritual Direction by Margaret Guenther

A must-read for anyone taking Spiritual Direction and / or considering leading Spiritual Direction.

The amateur is a lover.  Love impels her work and lies at its heart.  Spiritual direction, as a work of love, is also a work of freedom.  The director is willing to let be, to love with an open hand.  Hers is a contemplative love, immune from temptation to devour, possess, or manipulate.  Always seeing the other as a child of God, she is filled with respect, even awe in the presence of the person sitting across the sacred space – be it my holy patch of worn carpet or the other end of a park bench.

Willing to let go and let be, the director is unwilling to despair.  He has faith in the process of growth and change – and even more faith in the power of God’s grace.  This is a ministry of hope and newness that enlivens, and even helps define, the status of the amateur.

Have a super weekend!

Heather

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