Thursday, January 1, 2015
Building Spiritual Literacy
Starting off this New Year I want to continue on the topic of last week. Last week I spoke of a spiritual retreat we took to Immanuel Prayer House. It was a relaxing time of spiritual reading and enjoying the natural scenery of the Texas Hill Country. That experience reminded me of a book I had read earlier in the year. The title of the book is Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life. The authors are Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. The book brought back memories of reading Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence that speaks of worshipping God in all experiences of life.
In the introduction they define Spiritual Literacy as “the ability to read the signs written in the texts of our own experiences.” (p. 15). They both speak of their love and passion for reading from which they gleaned wisdom that relates to spirituality. Their book is built upon sharing spiritual thoughts from books, movies, and a wide variety of experiences of life that point to understanding the spiritual side of the lives we lead. A quote they use by theologian Samuel H. Miller, expounds on the premise of their book, “In the muddled mess of this world, in the confusion and boredom, we ought to be able to spot something – an event, a person, a memory, an act, a turning of the soul, a flash of bright wings, the surprise of sweet compassion – somewhere we ought to pick out a glory to celebrate.” (p.16). The spiritual literate individual is mindful of seeking God’s interaction in their lives to celebrate the grace and love of God.
They do mention that all the world religions have literature that relates to each philosophical worldview. The additional thoughts in the book is showing the spiritual in all other aspects of life. I personally feel that it is avid readers who are more Intune with the power of story, so are able to pick up on the spiritual that appears in life experiences. The authors point out that to be spiritually literate we need to be open to the possibility of the divine reaching into our world. There needs to be openness to wonder and mystery. This is based on our worldview. They present a quote from Albert Einstein when he was asked, “’What’s the most important question you can ask in life?’” He replied, “’Is the universe a friendly place or not?’” (p33). If the world is just random chaos with no God, true wonder and mystery is absent. If there is a God who is interested in involvement with humankind than wonder occurs as the world has the potential of being a friendly place.
Keeping so busy or living a life of just getting by, limits the sense of wonder to pick up on the spiritual rays of light that the Divine wants to shine into our pathways. “By skimming the surface, we miss what lies beneath. ‘Your soul suffers if you live superficially,’ Nobel Peace Prize – winner Albert Schweitzer cautions. (p.35). This is exactly what I try to get across in my book, Living More Than OK. If we are just living boring OK lives we are just existing and not being open to the spiritual light breaking into our lives. Being open to the spiritual around us provides meaning and purpose even in the little mundane issues of life. We can be more thankful and we can understand how the coincidences and even the disappointments of life as being His appointments to teach us new thoughts or reminders of important principles to apply in our personal growth.
One of the favorite quotes I came across in the book was “the words of the Christian journalist Malcolm Muggeridge: ‘Every happening great and small is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message’ (p. 40). The question is “are we open to His message?” If you are the type who enjoys spiritual reading books, this book by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat will be a helpful aid in your spiritual growth journey. They also have a website with a variety of resources. I have that website listed under the reflection definitely check it out.
Reflection – Are you open to seeing God work in your life each day? Do you make it a habit to read Spiritual Readings each day? What has been a way God has spoken to you in the parables of life?
www.spiritualityandpractice.com Website by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.