Book Review: Catholic Spiritual Practices
Edited By: Colleen Griffith & Thomas Groome
Publisher: Paraclete Press ISBN: 9781612612461
I love the format of this little book.
Catholic Spiritual Practices is a collection of essays describing various spiritual disciplines and practices, which can be helpful with a person’s development in the Christian faith. The format of the book is very easy to follow with the assorted disciplines grouped into three primary categories: prayer, care, and spiritual growth. The essays themselves are concise, but provide an understandable overview of each practice, their expected outcomes, and a high-level introduction or “how-to” so the reader can have an idea of how to participate in the practice. I believe the essayists and the editors have done an exemplary job of presenting such a rich collection of spiritual practices in a manageable and practical form.
If I were to offer any criticism of the book, it would be regarding the title. Not all of the practices included in the book are exclusive to the Catholic faith. Unfortunate as it may be, titling the book as it has been titled will exclude a significant number of people who could benefit from these spiritual practices.
Title aside, I would recommend this book for anyone. Admittedly, there are some disciplines included in the collections that are not fully embraced by all faith traditions; this should not be considered an insurmountable obstacle. My recommendation is to experiment with the practices that do not conflict with or compromise your tradition and allow yourself and your soul to be enriched by the results.
I am delighted to have come across this gem of a book. I have found new ways to present some of these ancient practices to others seeking to grow more deeply in their faith. I look forward to sharing them and I look forward to growing with them myself.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Paraclete Press to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Actively Waiting in Hope (A Pre-Advent Meditation)
Hope in My Present
Hope Anchored in Traditions of the Past
The past couple weeks I have had my thoughts drawn to the coming new cycle of the Christian Calendar. I have only been practicing this discipline of living the Liturgical Year since 2007, but it has become one of my favorite and most life giving of all the disciplines I practice. I am excited about what God will teach and shape in me during this coming year.
Advent (Dec. 2, 2012 this year) marks the beginning of the new liturgical year, a new cycle of connecting our lives to the Savior-King, Messiah Jesus. The liturgical calendar follows the time of the birth of Christ through the ascension of Christ to arrival of the Holy Spirit in Fire on the Day of Pentecost and then proceeds with “ordered” or ordinary time until we arrive at Christ the King Sunday (the last Sunday of the Christian year). I have found the Liturgical Calendar to be a wonderful exercise in keeping my mind and heart engaged with the always-present-Lord.
The Cycle of Light
Advent literally means “coming” or “arrival.” It is a time when we celebrate the promise fulfilled of the Messiah King Jesus, born in the flesh of a child some two-thousand years ago. It is also a time when we celebrate with hope looking forward to the promised return of our Eternal King, Jesus, when he will establish his kingdom forever and rule with his people on a new and wholly redeemed earth. Advent is a time of preparation, reflection, and expectant waiting. We look forward, active in the now, with hearts anticipating redemption and completion where satisfaction will be eternally gratified and met… no more longing, no more hunger, no more waiting, but until then, we do wait… with hearts expectant and preparing, we look forward to the coming and arrival of the Light.
Watchful Waiting and Christ’s Arrival
This season where we intentionally focus our attentions to waiting, we turn specifically to “three arrivals” or comings of Christ. (1) His arrival in history; the incarnation, where God became flesh in the birth of Jesus. (2) The return of Christ in his fullness and glory; the End Times of Revelation—a new Heaven, a New Earth—where God in Triune Wholeness comes once again to dwell with humankind for all eternity. (3) His spiritual arrival and entrance into our lives as Lord and Savior—His salvation to us and indwelling of us in the Holy Spirit.
“The question with which the liturgical year confronts us is a direct one: what does the life of Jesus now mean to us? …By taking us into the depth of what it means to be a human on the way to God…the liturgical year breaks us open to the divine.” -Joan Chittister
Bobby Gross reminds us “The Biblical scope of Advent stretches from the garden in Genesis to the New Jerusalem in Revelation.” Advent concerns first and last things indeed, but it also includes the tension of all points in between. Eugene Peterson paraphrases and exposits a deeper look into the Apostle Paul’s words to the church in Rome with these words from Romans chapter eight.
All around us, we observe a pregnant condition. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it is not only around us; it is within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. (Romans 8:22-25 The Message)
We are hopeful, active, partners with God; we are expectant, standing on the shoulders of tradition past as we look forward in our wait…even as He works within us in the now.
“We must do more than simply go through the Advent calendar; we must develop in us an Advent heart.” -Joan Chittister
Postures for Advent
There is tension in the wait; we fluctuate as the Apostle reminds us (Romans 8:22-25) we groan and we rejoice in the expectancy of what is and what is to come. We allow ourselves the permission to sing with joy and lament with sorrow during our season of waiting. The noises and clamor of “busy” is pervasive and unrelenting this time of year; we can be intentional about practicing restraint and making opportunities for retreat from all the distractions. Know that Christ has come and with the reality of that promise and the gift of his Holy Spirit indwelling, we can be expectant, alert, and open to his voice within and his voice without…He is our Teacher, Guide, Counselor, and Comforter. Be ever vigilant and on the lookout for our encounters with the Sacred and Divine.
Practices and Resources
From my friend Christine Sine’s blog, here is a great link to list of Advent Resources. In addition to this link with resources, I will be blogging through the season here on the icrucified.blog. If you’d like to receive the Advent reflections in your email box, be sure to sign-up for them using the link in the upper right-hand navigation bar that says “subscribe by email.”
Author: Ben Witherington III
Publisher: Baylor Press ISBN: 9781602580152
I am fascinated by the sacraments of the Christian church and the Lord’s Supper/Communion/Eucharist is one that brings much discussion across the various streams and traditions of the Christian faith. I’m always on the lookout for good sources of information on sacramental theology, so I was pretty delighted to get my hands on this work by Ben Witherington III for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is Dr. Witherington’s academic reputation.
I have several books devoted to the subject of the Lord’s Supper; I have even more books with information inclusive of this specific sacrament, and I have a number of loose articles and commentary about the subject saved in various places in my home office. The point to these claims is that I have been collecting information for quite some time. Here is what I have found; Making a Meal of it by Ben Witherington III is one of the best researched and written pieces on this subject that I have found and read to date. There are several points that I wish to highlight in justifying my opinion.
First, for an academic work, the book is not bogged down with academic language. It is easy to read and it is a relatively short read, coming in at one hundred sixty pages. It is also linear in that it follows a timeline of sorts beginning with the perceived history of this sacrament and ending with contemporary interpretation/opinion.
Secondly, while I think no published work is completely unbiased, this one seemed predominantly “fact-based” and relatively easy to fact check. I have read and own several books from the pen of Dr. Witherington and am a regular subscriber to his blog. I think he can be opinionated at times, and being familiar with his writing style, I can report this book is not overly biased or opinionated.
Finally, the book is engaging… it is more conversational, “discussion-like” and less textbook than I would have expected. It can easily be read in an afternoon or two, but in no way is the material “light” of depth or content… facts, figures, and historical content are all present, but in a very readable, attention holding format.
In conclusion, I am still researching and learning about the depth and breadth of all the key sacraments of the church. I do not presume this book to be the definitive voice in my quest for information and understanding, but I will lend my voice to say it is one of the very best that I have found to this date.
Making a Meal of It is one of three books by Ben Witherington III in a series on the primary sacraments of the church. Other titles include Troubled Waters: Rethinking the Theology of Baptism and The Living Word of God: Rethinking the Theology of the Bible. Bible scholar Ben Witherington is Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary and on the doctoral faculty at St. Andrews University in Scotland. He is now considered one of the top evangelical scholars in the world, and is an elected member of the prestigious SNTS, a society dedicated to New Testament studies.
Divine Reading: Psalm 119:162-168
I am enjoying the comforting presence of God and His Word to me this day. Prayerful meditation in the Psalms this morning with my family with our selected reading from the Book of Common Prayer, Psalm 119:145-176. The Word to me came from the passage as follows:
I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil. I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law. Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules. Great peace have those who love your law; can make them stumble. I hope for your salvation, O Lord, and I do your commandments. My soul keeps your decrees; I love them exceedingly. I keep your precepts and decrees, for all my ways are before you. -Ps. 119:162-168
“My soul keeps your decrees…” I love this. I receive an affirmation of the highest order when I read these words. My soul keeps your decrees. Yes. I am comforted to know that regardless of what or how I might miss the mark in the throes of my own frailty, the realty I can depend upon is that God’s Law is written on my heart and my soul keeps His decrees. As I go through my day, I know the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, my guide and counselor—my teacher and advocate—communes non-stop with my soul. The two are united in a sacred dance, the dance of the sacred and mysterious divine union… I have been invited to participate and enjoy this beautiful, holy, perechoretic dance (John 17:21-24).
“My soul keeps your decrees…” I know that I am not perfect. I know that I am subject to failure. I also know that I have been released from the oppressive nature of imperfection. Likewise, I am not condemned by or fearful of the idea of failure. While it is God’s best for me that I not miss the mark of reflecting His image fully, if I miss the mark, there is One who is greater than I who intercedes on my behalf (1 John 2:1-2). My confidence and my comfort come from the knowledge that my heart has been replaced by a heart of God’s own design (Ezekiel 36:26-27), my heart can be and is pure because God has made it that way!
“My soul keeps your decrees…” Yes, even when I do not know what to pray—even when I do not know what to say—my soul keeps your decrees. My deepest desires are no longer driven by my self-idolatry. My deepest desires are coordinated and mapped by the Spirit of the Living God who lives within me. My soul keeps your decrees. In my darkness and in my doubt, I am comforted by the word that speaks truth to me; “My soul keeps your decrees.” This word I tell myself, confirming truth when my physical senses would attempt to betray my soul. Yes, praise be to the Most High God, my soul keeps your decrees. Amen.
Book Review: Sacred Chaos
Author: Tricia McCary Rhodes
Publisher: InterVarsity Press ISBN: 9780830835126
I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading this book; it has been on my shelf… calling out my name for a long time. I’m glad I finally relented, pulled it down, and took the time to read it. Sacred Chaos is full of divine order and holy moments no matter what the title might imply.
Tricia Rhodes writes, in Sacred Chaos, with sacramental purpose recognizing that regardless of the season or speed of life, God is always present and every moment—whether ordered or chaotic—can be a moment for connecting with Him.
A renewed awakening to the vitality and purpose of spiritual disciplines has been prominent (especially so in the Protestant Evangelical churches) in recent years. The tension with the renewed popularity in the disciplines has been finding time and space to pursue them. The premise of Sacred Chaos is to start where you are…in the midst of your busy and hectic life. God is there, God is here, and He is longing to be with you. Now.
The format and writing style of Sacred Chaos favors the time-strapped reader. The chapters are brief and engaging… each one can stand on its own, but each chapter builds upon the collective to form a whole as well. Rhodes has done well to consider and cater to the audience to whom she writes. Additionally, I found it personally appealing how she combined elements old and new (classic and current Bible versions as well as ancient and contemporary writings from spiritual masters). Also included are a number of exercises that can help to invite the reader to practice the presence of God right where they are… right in the moment of reading… in the middle of a busy and chaotic life.
Make no mistake; this book is not about a list of practices and disciplines that are packed on to a busy life. Sacred Chaos is about a relationship with the God who is always present, even in our whirlwind lives. Sacred Chaos is a rest stop in our “busy” and a reminder to stop, reset, and begin again in the presence of our God who is always here.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from InterVarsity Press to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
By: Diane LeClerc & Mark A. Maddix
Publisher: Beacon Hill Press ISBN: 9780834126138
I wish I could say I’m surprised this book hasn’t gained more traction than it has, but I’m not… and that’s a shame because this contribution of essays from Leclerc and Maddix is a treasure trove of insight, tradition, and wisdom for those who aspire to become formed more fully in the image of Jesus Christ.
Classic spiritual formation is something that has been largely abandoned by the Protestant Evangelical church, although there seems to be something of an awakening interest to this tradition in recent years. It is for this reason I am greatly encouraged by the work done in this book from Leclerc and Maddix and most especially for the reason that it is written from a Wesleyan perspective.
Regarding a review of this book, I really do not know where to begin, every chapter and every page is chock full of goodness. The book is comprised of twenty chapters (essays) from various contributors and I have over twenty-six “sticky-bookmarks” spaced throughout those twenty essays… lots of very good, insightful, encouraging, challenging, and practical tools helpful in establishing specific disciplines to aid individuals and groups in their spiritual transformation.
It is difficult for me to say what part or parts of the book I enjoyed the most…there really were so many. I do have to admit that the treatment given to “entire sanctification” by Diane Leclerc (pp.59-63) is some of the most readable and practical writing on the topic I have seen in recent years. By this, I do not mean exhaustive or comprehensive, but it is succinct and down-to-earth in explanation. That alone, is high praise when discussing views like entire sanctification or “Christian perfection.” I think Thomas Jay Oord adds to the same conversation with his essay from chapter seven also speaking to the notion of Christian perfection, loving God and loving neighbor. There is some really good reading in these two essays in particular. Brent Peterson has a wonderful treatment in his chapter dedicated to communal worship and the sacraments. I loved the attention he paid to the Eucharist and Baptism (pp102-105).
Other notable chapters for me were chapter eleven, Breathing Faith-Christian Prayer and Contemplation, wonderfully well-rounded and diverse attention to prayer by Gary Waller in this essay! Rhonda Carrim in chapter fifteen, Walking the Journey Together-Spiritual Direction and Mentoring, helps the reader slog through the morass of semantic confusion we’ve created in our “us versus them” discussions in her essay regarding discipleship, mentoring, and spiritual direction.
As a pastor in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition and a person who has been studying the ancient and classic traditions of spiritual formation, I am grateful for the help this book provides me with a common language to share with my peers. Personally, I’ve struggled with sharing ideas about the ancient traditions of the Christian faith because so many of those traditions were established pre-reformation and much of the teaching and writing are from authors rooted in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches. Sadly, for that reason alone, much of the conversation regarding spiritual formation in the circles I have traveled stops at that point, largely because of ignorance and unfair biases. This is why I’m so excited to have been made aware of this book; I think it will be a great asset for me going forward assisting me as I share these great spiritual formation tools in a language that is common to my own tradition and helpful making connections where people might have thought there were none in the Wesleyan paradigm.
Very Highly Recommended.
Book Review: Kneeling with Giants
Author: Gary Neal Hansen
Publisher: InterVarsity Press ISBN: 9780830835621
“Excellent, excellent, excellent…this is really great stuff here!” These are the thoughts and the words that I’ve found coming to mouth and mind over and over again as I have read and referenced from Gary Hansen’s book Kneeling with Giants. This is an exceptional book; it will prove to be an invaluable resource for years to come as I integrate it with my teaching and discipleship methods. At a personal level, it will prove to be an invaluable resource for my own spiritual development and maturation as I incorporate some of the prayer applications with my current disciplines.
I was excited when I first saw this book offered by InterVarsity Press. While I have studied prayer disciplines across many traditions of the Christian church, I have not found a resource that has been as ecumenical as this; they may exist, but I have not found any before I received this book. This is a very good thing. Gathering a diverse sampling of prayer methods, Kneeling with Giants, provides a safe way of exposing people to different styles of prayer and ultimately communing with God. In my opinion, Gary Hansen has done a remarkable job of bringing together a solid and historically representative grouping of prayer styles. I do not think curious readers will be disappointed with what they find in these pages.
Hansen has arranged his book into four primary sections. Each of these sections represents a different “style” of prayer and includes actual historical figures (people) to help illustrate those styles. Part one gives attention to Scripture prayers and liturgical prayer such as the Divine Office, The Lord’s Prayer, and The Jesus Prayer. The historical figures Hansen chooses for teaching these prayer styles are St. Benedict of Nursia, Martin Luther, and the “Pilgrim” of The Prayer of the Pilgrim. Subsequent sections include Praying with Scripture (John Calvin and St. Ignatius of Loyola), Meditative Prayer (St. Teresa of Avila, the Prayers of the Puritans, and Prayer from The Cloud of Unknowing), and Petition, Supplication, and Intercession (Agnes Sanford and Andrew Murray).
While I enjoyed each section for its individual merits, even those I am well studied in, I was particularly drawn to the teaching from the Puritan tradition. I found the meditative and reflective style of prayer from the Puritans very enlightening and plan to explore it in greater detail. Additionally, I found the method by which Hansen approached the prayer of The Cloud of Unknowing inspired. I have studied the teaching of The Cloud of Unknowing from many sources and have not found the type of clarity that I witnessed in the short chapter from Kneeling with Giants. The chapter on The Cloud does not go into step-by-step instruction on the method of this prayer, but instead, addresses and responds to many of the questions that are posed by persons who are unfamiliar with this type and style of prayer. I know this will be very useful for my own teaching purposes.
If there is any complaint from my corner, it is the fact that I am missing the additional content that has been included with the e-reader version of the book. I suppose that I will have to purchase the electronic version to participate with the additional material (an extra chapter of primary source material corresponding to each of the ten chapters of Kneeling with Giants, with election chosen to clearly introduce each approach to prayer in its original context). Overall, I am exceedingly pleased and grateful for this book. I believe it will be an eye-opening experience for quite a few people who may have never journeyed outside of their own tradition. It will be a great asset to me I am sure and I believe the same will be true for others who decide to open their hearts and minds to Kneeling with Giants.
Publisher: InterVarsity Press ISBN: 9780830835645
I love this book/workbook (see the website). I’ve been waiting almost three years for it. I was introduced to Stephen Macchia and the Rule of Benedict while attending a Renovaré Conference in June of 2009. Following that conference and the workshop I attended with Dr. Macchia, I immediately set out to use the information I learned from my notes and worksheets and I crafted my own personal Rule of Life. Since that time, I have continued the discipline of practicing a Rule of Life and I’ve taught others to do the same. I was greatly delighted when I was notified that Stephen had finally put together and published a workbook that could be used for individuals and groups. I did not hesitate a moment with getting my own copy.
While the book is arranged and formatted in the style of a workbook (fill-in-the-blank, listed notes, personal journal sections, tables, charts, and etc.), there are very informative reading sections that provide historical context, Biblical reasoning and reflection for the purpose of your rule and what each component of the rule represents, and anecdotal personal interest reading. It is a good and engaging mix that will appeal equally with individuals or groups who will work through Crafting a Rule of Life.
The book begins with an introduction explaining what a Rule of Life is in a literal context and moves from there to give a historical understanding of the same as Macchia shares the origins of the Rule as crafted by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century (540AD).
The workbook is formatted into three primary sections; Part One: Framing Your Personal Rule of Life, Part Two: Forming Your Personal Rule of Life, and Part Three: Fulfilling Your Personal Rule of Life. Each section has a number of sub-sections and exercises to work through that assist in crafting a rule that will result in a workable and unique grouping of disciplines helpful in Christ-like spiritual formation.
Part One is helpful in becoming “self aware” with exercises designed to examine and understand personal relationships, individual gifts and talents, and more. This is a needful first-step in order to proceed to Part Two, which helps to identify the components of your Rule that will need structured and in what capacity of development. Part Three moves the personal rule into a context of community with exercises designed to bring fulfillment to the Personal Rule.
The workbook is completed with a few pages of resources, suggested reading list, and a few personal testimonials from persons sharing their experience with crafting a personal rule of life.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I was and remain very excited about the publication of this book. I plan to use it often as a personal resource guide (my original notes weren’t nearly as comprehensive as this workbook), and as a teaching tool to share this wonderful spiritual discipline. I cannot speak enthusiastically enough about what a positive experience having the Rule of Life in my own spiritual journey has been. This is an excellent resource for the individual and I think it is even better suited for groups. Thank you, Stephen Macchia, for this awesome resource!
Book Review: Sacred Space
Author: The Irish Jesuits
Publisher: Ave Maria Press ISBN: 9781594712777
I have been a lover of prayer books ever since reading Scot McKnight’s book, Praying with the Church. Since reading that book, I have collected quite a few prayer books from various traditions exploring, using, and integrating them into my personal rhythms of prayer. Through the past few years I have found a number of the Ignatian Exercises (Examen, Imaginative Prayer, Journaling, Lectio Divina) very helpful in the ongoing development and maturation of my spiritual formation. It was because of this fond attraction to Ignatian Spirituality that I was especially drawn to this prayer book of the Irish Jesuits.
(From the Sacred Space Website) Sacred Space is a work of the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus. It originated in the offices of the Jesuit Communication Centre in Ireland in 1999. Being a ministry of the Irish Jesuits, it is inspired by the spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola (Ignatian spirituality).
The prayers are grouped into a weekly theme providing “something to think and pray about each day through the week.” Each day is then ordered into a session of prayer, which proceeds through a series of movements.
- There is the topic or theme with accompanying Scripture verse—Sacred Space ordinarily follows the scripture sequence of the Revised Common Lectionary. Adaptations are made to the Irish calendar to acknowledge the international readership of the site.
- The Presence of God—Opening prayer acknowledging/inviting God’s Presence
- Freedom—Prayerful acknowledgment that I am a free soul; asking God to give me continuing grace and strength to respond obediently to His instructions and guidance.
- Consciousness—A prayerful meditation and examen of consciousness; honest acknowledgement of the condition of my soul and spirit.
- The Word—Leads you to the daily Scripture reading and provides help with the text, if needed.
- Conversation—Prayer of imagination “Jesus himself sitting or standing beside me, opening my heart to him ” and sharing my truthful thoughts and feelings.
- Conclusion—Closing prayer; most often ending in the “Glory be.”
“Although written in the first person, the prayers are for ‘doing’ rather than for reading out. Each stage is a kind of exercise or meditation aimed at helping you to get in touch with God and God’s presence in your life” (p. viii).
I continue to enjoy this prayer book as a supplement to my daily prayer disciplines. I’m thankful that I have found it and plan to continue using it in the years to come. There is a website link that provides this same form and movement of prayer… although I have found some differences in the how the movement is guided. The Scripture readings have been the same as the days marked in the prayer book. I recommend this prayer book for anyone regardless of the stage you may be in your spiritual journey and close this review with a few words from the Sacred Space:
“…Remember that God is everywhere, all around us, constantly reaching out to us, even in the most unlikely situations. When we know this, and with a bit of practice, we can pray anywhere. — Every place is sacred space so you may wish to have this book in your desk at work or available to be picked up and read at any time of the day, whilst traveling or on your bedside table, a park bench, or…”
[01JAN2012] Scripture and Devotional Reading 2012
I’m so excited about beginning a new year of Bible and devotional reading. I get this giddy feeling with the start of each new year reading plan, but this 2012 year gives an extra little boost. The past three years I have followed the Daily Office of the Book of Common Prayer and Lectionary for my Bible reading plan. It has been very good and beneficial for the feeding of my soul. I will continue to use the Book of Common Prayer and the Benedictine Daily Prayer Book for prayer and meditative reading, but I am returning to my New Living Translation Chronological Bible as my guide for reading through this coming year.
I cannot speak with words strong enough to share how valuable the chronological Bible has been to my spiritual journey and Christian development. I believe I’ve shared the story before on the blog, but my first venture with the chronological style of reading was back in 2004. It is a bit of a long story, but suffice it to say my life was forever changed; I was finally able to see the “big picture” of the Bible…the whole story as it were. The years that followed my first chronological reading were repeats, choosing to read through the Bible in this same manner several times until I started using the Book ofCommon Prayer and Lectionary around 2008.
In addition to my Bible reading plan, I’m excited about a couple of new devotional reading projects. I’ve been a big fan of N. T. Wright over the years and couldn’t wait to get my hands on his translation of the New Testament when I heard it was coming in 2011. I picked it up through Amazon.com as one of my Christmas gifts to myself. I have already started reading beginning with the Gospel of Luke. I’ve got several new gospel commentaries that I’ve been looking forward to reading and plan to read a commentary alongside my reading of The Kingdom New Testament. The Luke commentary is a new commentary, The Biblical Imaginative Series, and authored by Michael Card published through InterVarsity Press. Also from InterVarsity Press, I have two volumes from the Resonate Series with The Gospel of Matthew by Matt Woodley and The Gospel of John by Paul Louis Metger. I don’t have a gospel commentary set aside for Mark just yet, but we’ll see what comes along down the road. In the mean time, I think this is a pretty good plan and look forward to what God the Holy Spirit has to say as He guides my reading and devotions.
I’ve added a couple of new prayer books to my line-up this year too. I ordered, and have been using, The Benedictine Daily Prayer Book since returning from the Pecos Monastery this past summer. My other Christmas gift to me was a two volume prayer book set, Take our Moments and our Days, from the Anabaptist tradition. I still plan to use the Divine Hours Prayer Books I’ve been using for the past five years along with these newer acquisitions.
I have several devotional books riding over from last year into this year. The only new devotional book I’m using this new year (as of now) is the Ancient Christian Devotional – Lectionary Cycle B by Thomas Oden and Cindy Crosby.
I think this is going to be a grand year.