Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Timely reminder

As I leapt out of bed this morning (not a pretty sight) I reflected ruefully that my intent to read at least one worthwhile book every week seems to have fallen well and truly by the wayside in recent weeks...and what's worse, I can't currently see how I'm going to structure life to allow time for serious reading at an hour when I'm not too wiped out to absorb it. Then Cal listed her books so far for the Reading Challenge over at What's for Afters, and so reminded me that I was supposed to be blogging my way through my reading this year....and I was shamed all over again.
Now even Henri Nouwen is getting at me.Listen to this, today's Daily Meditation

Reading often means gathering information, acquiring new insight and knowledge, and mastering a new field. It can lead us to degrees, diplomas, and certificates. Spiritual reading, however, is different. It means not simply reading about spiritual things but also reading about spiritual things in a spiritual way. That requires a willingness not just to read but to be read, not just to master but to be mastered by words. As long as we read the Bible or a spiritual book simply to acquire knowledge, our reading does not help us in our spiritual lives. We can become very knowledgeable about spiritual matters without becoming truly spiritual people.

As we read spiritually about spiritual things, we open our hearts to God's voice. Sometimes we must be willing to put down the book we are reading and just listen to what God is saying to us through its words.

All confirmation of something I know very well - that God reaches me through the written word again and again...so I really do need to get on with making space for this, or I'll hit a wall soon and be no use to anyone.


Meanwhile, what have I been reading at all recently? The only thing of note was the happy sighting of Anne Lamott's Grace (Eventually) on the bookstall at New Orleans airport on my way home from the Big Event. I'd finished it before I landed at Birmingham, and loved it...well written and though provoking in equal measure but so easy to read that I could imagine reading more Lamott for relaxation as much as nutrition. Lovely.
I have this vague feeling that it might be coming up as a RevGals book club special, but I can't persuade the site to show me what's planned, just those titles that have already been discussed. Because most of them are published in the US I've not really keyed into the book group thus far, but maybe I should make reading the monthly book a priority from now on. It scares me to think that incumbency might seriously limit my reading.


God_Guurrlll said...

It is so hard for me to do spiritual reading. I have a pile of periodicals I haven't opened yet. I am doing a bible study in May and I haven't cracked open the curriculum.

By the time I get to reading just for me, all I can handle is a novel.

Peace and love,

Cal said...

To be fair I've not so much blogged about the books I've read as note down a whole long list! It's "Auntie Doris" http://www.wibsite.com/wiblog/auntiedoris/ who's been fab at blogging them.

Have done two small spiritual readings this morning (one from the Celtic Prayer Book and one from the Way of St Benedict) which is the most spiritual reading I've done all year!

Chris said...


Whilst Henri is, of course, right - and thanks for blogging that btw - I am sure that there is special dispensation for new priests-in-charge!! [Is that the correct plural?!]

Like so much else at the moment, I suspect you will settle down with something workable. Never the ideal though, I fear!

If you manage to crack it - do let the rest of us know ;-)

Michelle said...

Thanks for the advice from Nouwen!! I've started a new post - and though it's very part time, and not all consuming, it's upset the delicate balance of my calendar and clock. My chemistry hat knows that re-establishing equilibrium in a system takes time, and the bigger the shift, the longer it takes.

I think the RevGals read Grace (Eventually) some months back...I didn't read it them, but just happened on it again last week. You're inspiring me to start it (right after I write the next piece on prayer and grade the darn lab reports!)...

Take care, on all levels.

Anonymous said...

The worst thing about being an incumbent is that you have no time to read. I was advised to diary in a reading week from time to time when you switch on the answering machine and loll around on the sofa with a pile of theology by your side. Along with a glass of wine and a pile of jelly babies, or whatever takes your fancy. You MUST NOT think this is a holiday or feel guilty. This is work.

Tony said...

I really feel for you. My blogging's been all over the place recently - mostly because I'm trying to read. And I haven't kept up with the blogging what I read challenge either, because I just didn't trust myself to say what I wanted to about the book I'd just read.

Love what revruth says: Amen!